You see it almost everywhere you go: Cashiers rolling their eyes at customers, or co-workers gathered in the supermarket aisle or break room gossiping and complaining about their bosses.
This isn't that surprising, when research across a broad range of industries and organisations has turned up a depressing statistic… Only 13% of employees are engaged at work, while the other 87% are hanging out for the end of their shift so they can go and waste time somewhere else.
As the owner or manager of an SME (who is putting blood sweat and tears into your business day in, day out), seeing this behaviour amongst your staff infuriates you no end because they are effectively undoing all your hard work…..
Engagement is the key to a lot of issues
The problem with engagement is that a lack of it can impact, among other things, productivity, profitability, staff retention, absenteeism, and safety records, not to mention all important customer experience and retention. Therefore it's well documented that having engaged people on your front line is key to business success.
Increasing engagement among your people is one of the best ways we can help you address your business challenges. It makes clear business sense to give all of your employees reasons to stay engaged.
So, how do you engage staff and keep them engaged in the task at hand?
Here are 6 things you might like to try:
It's okay if you have not made people a priority, as long as you commit to doing so starting today. And, an Employee Engagement Strategy does not require additional resources. You are already hiring people, setting goals, communicating and recognizing people, but maybe not in a way that is engaging your greatest asset.
1. Empower staff to make decisions.
Tell them the What and Why and let them figure out the How. People will move mountains to make their way of doing things work, if they are given some discretion.
2. Thank them privately then thank them publicly.
It motivates people if you praise them. It motivates them a LOT more if you praise them in front of their peers. Sincere praise is powerful.
3. Give employees more perspective.
Let them know Why you need them to sell 20% more than last month or Why the task has to be done earlier than normal. Give them a reason when you ask them to help to achieve a milestone or a goal. It helps them feel part of a competent, focused organisation.
4. Give your staff the respect you would expect yourself.
Nit-picking about being a few minutes late occasionally is not productive. In fact, it may well drive valued employees away from your business.
5. Look at improving an employee's skill set through training, rather than seeking a new employee with those skills.
The cost of replacing a good staff member may be as much as 50% of their annual wages cost. Look at ongoing training and skills improvement for the committed staff. They will reward you with improved performance and loyalty.
6. Ask their advice.
The people doing a task day in, day out are more likely to have identified time savings or efficiencies that you will miss. Ask their advice; engage their thinking skills; seek their feedback. People, generally, want to do the right thing by you and may have insights that prove valuable to your business.
If you can assume the role of Leader, rather than Boss, you will start to see better results and a higher standard of engagement from your staff. You have much more to gain than you have to lose.
Officevibe recently reported that 90% of companies think an employee engagement strategy would be helpful, yet only 25 percent of companies have one. Why? Mostly, because they are afraid to admit that leadership has dropped the ball as it relates to putting people first, they think they'd need additional resources to execute on the strategy, or they don't know where to begin.
For more information about employee engagement and how even the most simple engagement strategy can employee performance in your SME, contact us at HR Tactics.