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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Spencer

Employee Engagement: Employees Matter

You have heard that there are two cultures in a work environment. The first is how the executives perceive the culture, and the second is how different the work environment is in reality compared to what the executives think it is. We all know this is true as owners, executives, and managers. You, as a leader, think you know, but the reality is that you do not. Why is that?

The answer to that question can get based on several factors. First, can you, as a leader, objectively answer these questions, or should you have a trusted unbiased opinion to tell you the truth? Second, what kind of leadership style do you have? Third, does your perception of your leadership style match how your employees see you as a leader? For example, do you believe you are a servant leader, but if your employees filled out surveys, would they have a different view?

To fully engage your workforce and increase employee engagement and revenue, you must first assess how you think you are as a leader vs. what your actions relay to others in your employment. Leaders who are aware of how they genuinely come across, intending to create engaging employees and change the work culture to a positive environment, will accomplish that goal if they stay on task and remember their vision for their company.

Suppose there is not a foundational establishment of trust for employees. In that case, you as a leader will not ever have a pulse on the actual work culture environment and how to build a foundational trust system for your employees so that you as a leader understand the real concerns of the company. As a result, you can keep and enable your great employees to grow and fully engage.

Here are some suggestions (in no particular order); not all suggestions will work for you. Some, however, may inspire you differently.

  1. Start with once a week and hand out treats on a consistent day, for example, Friday. Whether it be ice cream or cupcakes, as you are handing them out, establish a baseline of respect. You will not build trust without the foundational element of respect. After respect gets established, ask your employees for their opinions, input, and ideas. Because they deal with their workload daily, they may have ideas you would have never thought of as a possible solution.

  2. Cross-training can give employees an appreciation of what others do and could elevate some misunderstanding of job duties. It could also create environments where employees want to grow, learn, and invest in the company. We just experienced a pandemic. It will also create a situation where the company can move forward if someone is out sick with no significant lag time.

  3. When you have established respect and trust, give out measurable surveys. The questions should consider things that are for that person's growth. Are they being encouraged to grow? Do they know the mission and vision of the company, and do they believe in that vision? Do they feel as though their concerns are getting heard? Do they think they have clear expectations of what gets expected of them? Do they feel like their managers are providing consistent feedback on their performance and giving constructive feedback so they can grow?

  4. Do interactions with leaders or managers for employees lead to growth-oriented interactions? The goal of every leader, owner, or manager should be to understand and address the employees' concerns to create a work environment that develops and enhances employee engagement. Gallup defines employee engagement as the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace. Managers and employees together can create a growth path for the employee. Developing a career path gives the employee goals and directions to enhance employee engagement. Employee engagement helps you measure and manage employees' perspectives on the crucial elements of your workplace culture.

  5. Developing an environment of continuous conversation is vital to developing and maintaining employee engagement. Leaders today have heard of Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. Meeting your employee's basic needs leads to a win/win for you and your employees.

Communicating with your employees, meeting the basic needs of your employees, and building a level of respect will create an environment of engaged employees. Engaged employees have lower absenteeism, lower safety incidents and accidents, lower turnover, lower theft, and lower mistakes. In addition, engaged employees produce better customer interactions, higher customer engagement, and higher productivity leading to higher levels of profitability.

Before you, as a leader, say that all sounds good, but I do not have time. When the results create lower turnover and higher profits, rearranging your time is worth the effort.

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