New Year Resolution: Employee Engagement

End of year reports are wrapped up. Holiday parties are in the bag. As we come into a new year we want to make sure your company is set up for greatness. What defines greatness, though? To us, it’s making sure your staff is satisfied and as engaged in your success as you are. When someone is satisfied and engaged they aren’t performing bare minimum, they are reaching beyond the status quo. How do you know whether or not your employees are satisfied though?

No better way to find out then to ask.

Starts with the application. With the inevitable turnover and hiring that comes this next year, you want to make sure you are securing applicants that want to work with your company. Someone who is just working for a paycheck isn’t truly working with the company. Making sure applicants get a true sense of the work environment you manage is important. Don’t misrepresent things like hours offered, expected workload, or company culture. Be sure to ask questions that get at the values, interests, and compatibility of a potential hire. You can train an employee to do the work, but you can't train them to be passionate about their work. The work relationship expectations should be set from the beginning and should go both ways. Learn more about securing awesome candidates in our ebook. Define the Vibe. The mission and values of a company can define how people engage with their work. These simple yet motivational outlines of a company can set the tone and expectations of the workplace environment. This, in turn, impacts how an employee buys into the company's growth. People want to know they are part of something meaningful. Defining your company culture can significantly influence your teams' engagement. Not everyone has the same language for expressing their opinions, but values are set in place to create a common language for better communication. Asking your employees which values resonate with them can be telling. Whether you take a survey, poll the office or incorporate it into an activity at the next meeting it can offer insight into how employees see themselves in the company. Clean house. In order for a company to be on its “A game” you want to make sure the playing field is adequate. This means that the office inspires, the team is working together and that there is a clear common goal. The expectation for office environments has changed over the last decade. With how much time employees spend at work they want it to be a positive environment. Senses (visuals, smells, sounds) shape our experience, stress distracts us, and our community supports us.  What is the lighting like? Fluorescent lighting can cause migraines and dizziness. Do employees have the choice to sit versus stand? Each person's needs will vary. How does your company handle negative behavior in the workplace? A negative work environment will only distract employees from engaging. Make sure employees have a say in how the office feels both in the physical and emotional sense. Workload evaluation. Learning more about how each teammate handles workload can help you reevaluate workload management. This can be beneficial two-fold. Burnout versus boredom. Ensuring there isn’t employee burnout from work overload will prevent resentment and frustration. On the other hand, making sure an employee isn’t bored by their work will also maintain job retention. Challenging work motivates employees to engage more, but make sure you know your employees' stamina first. Check-in with employees throughout the year and throughout different projects. It can be an opportunity to build the team, disperse stress and keep employees around for the long run. Express your appreciation. The more you show appreciation for your employees the more they will engage with the company. It fuels the fire for positivity in the workplace. This can be done either publicly, privately or monetarily. You can also build up your staffs' community by having peer appreciation opportunities. The more an employee feels depended on in the workplace, the more likely they will be to engage in that space.

How do I know if an employee is happy?

You can use things like Survey Monkey, Google Forms or hire companies to draft evaluations. In doing so, it's important to remember that how you phrase questions and the context in which you frame an idea will impact how someone answers. Be sure not to limit your feedback and responses with questions that funnel a particular response. Surveys can create a wall when what you are actually seeking is transparency. Employees may generalize to avoid being identified. They might also feel like you are marking a box on your yearly to-do list: “ask employees generic questions about how they like their job.” A survey marks a particular point in time, but incorporating employee feedback as part of your company culture will ensure your employees feel seen and cared for. There are ways to get feedback from employees about their job satisfaction that are more genuine than a box form. Genuine engagement will inspire more authentic responses. Try creating various spaces, outlets, and conversations that inspire ongoing engagement and thoughtful responses about job satisfaction and experience.

  • Make sure that leaders in the workplace are available by engaging in off-work socials from the lunch table to the company happy hour.
  • Make sure those leaders are also available for more formal reviews and check-ins throughout the year.
  • Have anonymous places for employees to drop feedback either online or an in-office box.
  • If you have a large scale company with various departments, make sure there are whole company opportunities for people to put faces to the names they might only see in emails.
  • If you have a small company, be sure to build a sense of trust in the team. People will be more engaged the more they connect their work to others.

All of these tools present an opportunity for you to learn whether or not employees are truly happy in the workplace, but can also double as a place to improve morale as well.

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