Maintaining Employee Engagement
We’ve all experienced the results of positive employee engagement at one time or another. Even if you’ve never been part of a highly engaged team, then you’ve no doubt experienced it when doing business with other companies. And that’s precisely why maintaining employee engagement is so meaningful: ultimately, it creates positive customer experiences and repeat business. Once the employee journey brings your company to a place of engagement, all leaders must monitor and actively work to maintain it.
It’s important to know what an engaged employee looks like and how to assess an employee’s level of engagement. The kind of employee we’re looking for is one who understands and passionately seeks to fulfill the mission of the organization. That makes the first way to maintain employee engagement quite simple: regularly communicate your organization’s mission. Many leaders spend copious amounts of time talking about short-term goals and improvement methods while neglecting to convey the company’s ultimate reason for existence. Today’s younger generations connect with a company’s vision and purpose – they are not content to just complete tasks day after day with no view of the broader context.
Recognize When Work Serves The Larger Purpose
Now, if you see little value in your company’s mission, you’re likely part of the reason maintaining employee engagement is a struggle. You may find it surprising that the level of employee engagement within for-profit businesses is routinely significantly higher than employees at nonprofits. You might expect employees dedicated to serving a cause to have a higher level of commitment than those employees working for organizations with the goal of turning a profit. However, business leaders today have found ways to communicate deep meaning in what the company is accomplishing, which can prove to be highly rewarding for employees. One of the best ways to maintain employee engagement is to recognize the feeling of completing work that serves the company’s vision and share that feeling with others.
Recognize the Value of Involvement
Another method of maintaining employee engagement is not just inviting participation, but understanding its value. It seems all leaders value the concept of asking for input, but many lack the practice of doing so in mission-critical situations. When we leaders find ourselves facing an issue that could define our quarter or even our year, we tend to focus on the problem at the top of our organization rather than inviting individuals from each level within the company to contribute. In other words, the most critical moments for us to listen are often the moments we are least present to those who are speaking. Encouraging input on significant issues is only the first half of maintaining employee engagement. After hearing from your team you must either: 1) take action on what you just heard or 2) explain why not. Seemingly ignoring the input of a team member does more harm than good, so be sure to follow up with those who are engaging to show appreciation.
Recognize Your Own Engagement Levels
Terry Pearce’s “Leading Out Loud,” offers a set of self-evaluation questions that can help you maintain your own engagement levels:
- What is the strength of my personal commitment to our mission?
- What specific action am I taking to inspire others to engage with our mission?
- What specific actions am I going to ask of others to give them a way to engage immediately?
- How can I involve others with the problems facing us today?
- What can I ask that will give others the chance and the desire to participate?
Maintaining Employee Engagement
Over time, your team’s engagement levels can naturally decline, so make sure you take steps to keep that engagement high and see a steady stream of returning customers. For five tips on maintaining engagement (as well as a tool to easily measure engagement levels on your team) check out the newest session from A Better Leader, “Maintaining Engagement.”