Succeeding in business is about more than numbers: It’s about people. When you build a team that believes in your goals as deeply as you do, you’re working toward one of the most crucial ingredients to your success: Employee engagement.
Employee engagement happens when your team’s beliefs align with yours. Derek Irvine noted, “If you can get [your team] to believe … you don’t need to spend near the effort telling them how to think. They’re already there, likely one step ahead of you.”
But employee engagement isn’t something that can be achieved in an afternoon powwow. It’s cultivated over time, built on a foundation of respect, communication, and value.
Respect. Respect is like sunlight. You can’t expect employee engagement to flourish — or even grow — without it. Respect means treating your employee as equals. Employees notice if you treat them like esteemed peers or worker ants. And don’t think employees are willing to take any kind of treatment just for a paycheck: 47 percent of workers seeking new employment cite “lack of recognition” and “poor relationship with their boss” as their top two reasons for leaving.
Issuing commands without an explanation makes your team feel powerless and even cynical. Nurture employee engagement and a respectful work environment by including your team in your decisions. You can’t just tell them what to do. You have to tell them why. Always be sure your team knows why something happened, or why you made a certain choice.
Communication. Communication is one part talking, nine parts listening. When you respect your team and include them in your decisions, be sure to communicate with them and welcome their input. Talking and listening closely to your team express respect and interest.
When businesses decide to open communication, the effect is almost immediate. Increasing communication melts the “intimidation factor” that exists between many employers and employees. Employees feel comfortable to expressing their ideas or concerns. You’re likely to get input that teaches you about your team, and improves morale, engagement — and ultimately, your business.
Value. Every employee brings something valuable to your company, so keep an open mind and be ready to learn from all of them, whether they’re celebrating a milestone anniversary or just completing their first week on the job. No input or interaction is worthless; if it doesn’t directly advance you or your business, it reveals something about your employee and employee engagement.
Building employee engagement takes time and commitment to respecting, communicating with, and valuing your team. But it’s an effort with a significant pay off for your business — and especially your employees.