4 Powerful Ways to Improve Employee Engagement
Managers can be oblivious to the reality of how their staff really feels. If the signs aren’t hitting them squarely between the eyes (and sometimes even when they are), managers can be so fixated on their own story that they think everyone is happy, when in fact, they aren’t. Without paying attention, there’s no way to improve employee engagement.
I encounter this all the time—managers failing to look for the critical signs that something is amiss with their team. This seems even more rampant now, as managers try to juggle the strains on their own personal lives with the challenges of coordinating remote teams (maybe for the first time).
Though we may see the same officemates on a daily basis via Zoom, it can feel harder to read people. In addition, the typical personalities we’re used to interacting with may seem different, impacted by the collective heaviness and uncertainty Covid-19 has caused.
Given all these factors, there may certainly be instances when employees don’t share how they are really feeling. This can make it more difficult to be aware of dissatisfaction or disengagement.
Maybe a team member lacks the assertiveness to speak up or maybe they fear reprimand for speaking out (this could indicate a deeper issue with company culture). In other cases, an employee might make a diplomatic attempt to talk about tough issues but find that their message gets watered down or missed.
On other occasions, an employee may even become more direct but find their manager still in their own world. The manager either ignores or misses vital clues that would help them have a more accurate perspective.
Signs always exist
No matter how overt or subtle the signs, they exist. It’s your job as a manager to find them and then determine the best action steps to improve employee engagement.
In my opinion, the best managers are the ones that understand the dynamics of their team — and deal with them. The action doesn’t always have to make everyone happy, as long as it’s fair to all.
What’s the impact if you aren’t paying attention to the true level of engagement in your workforce? Loss of productivity, low morale, less loyalty, and high frustration that leads to turnover, to name just a few outcomes. I’m sure you can think of others, especially if you happen to be working within a culture that lacks engagement.
So what can you do?
- First, listen. I don’t think this can ever be emphasized too much. A manager has to make listening a priority. At the very least, it lets your employees know you care. But beyond that, the knowledge to be gained when you are truly listening benefits everyone and helps improve employee engagement.
- Second, look for signs in everyday communications. When people bring more—or less—of themselves to the work, it is a sign. Are they offering opinions? Are they happy and involved? Or are they just going through the motions? What is underneath these signals? Is it a temporary shift related to the pandemic or something even more significant?
- Third, be responsible for understanding the workplace climate, which has likely evolved (for good or bad) in the last six months. It is your job as a manager to know what is going on with your group, especially now. Turnover should never be a surprise.
- Fourth, use a reliable, valid assessment tool that will help you and others understand the dynamics at play. This information will help you see things you may not have been open to before. The new Everything DiSC® on Catalyst™ is designed for just this purpose, giving you and your teams the power to become fully engaged with each other and move toward common goals.
None of us are perfect at reading the signals of others. But when we put our focus there and employ the right tools to help us, we do a much better job at it. Let us know if we can help you get there.
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