As an employer, your primary concern about your business is that it remains to be profitable. You’ve spent time building this company from the ground up; perhaps starting out in the spare bedroom with just you to consider before moving into office premises and beginning the long road to company expansion. Your own career has taken off in ways that you didn’t think possible, and now you’re in a position where you are responsible for the careers of others around you.
The thing is, the more you look around the office in the later part of the afternoon, the more glazed eyes you see. The more rounded shoulders. The more lacklustre responses and bored voices when the telephones ring. People are surreptitiously scrolling their phones and not looking at their work emails or paying attention to much more than the clock. This is an office where people have given up – they are no longer engaged in their work or in the business activity.
The post-lunch slump is a thing; it’s well-documented and let’s be honest, we’ve all felt it. It’s also normal to have a certain slump in the afternoon. Your staff that you hire are still humans, still people, and there are rarely those who enjoy being at work in the afternoon when they could be at home and with their families. If you know this, and you’re seeing your employees slump at a time that is more than just down to having a big lunch, then there’s another issue in play besides not eating a healthy boxed lunch.
Disengagement can be detrimental to your business, but if you’re too busy with business continuity rather than what your staff should be up to, then there are a few priorities that you need to straighten out.
We all want staff members to share the same passion, the same drive for our businesses. We want them to be on the ball and in the mood to push it every hour of the working day that they are contracted to work. However, people don’t always work that way, and it’s important as an employer that you care about your employees beyond the hours that you are paying them for. People have lives outside of the office, and once you appreciate this, you can learn what makes them tick and how you can keep them interested in their jobs and what they’re doing for you in the first place. Employees who are engaged in their jobs work better, happier and for longer. Their attention is better, they’re more loyal to their employer and they’re simply nicer to be working alongside!
The question that you have to ask yourself is how well you engage your staff. Are you doing enough? As a business leader you’re going to face conundrums on a daily basis, including which outfit to wear during your next public speaking gig (sharpest suit possible) and whether or not smashed avocados on toast is really nice or just a gimmick (it’s a gimmick for #Instagram.
However, the biggest conundrum is how to engage your employees in the right way. The good news is that there are answers to this question.
Below, you’ll find eight fantastic ways to engage your staff better.
1. Show Your Staff Why Their Job Matters So Much
One of the biggest and best ways that you can engage your people is to give them a purpose, a reason for being in your company. Reminding your staff why they do what they do and how much they mean to your business is going to help you massively. If you show your employees to see the purpose in doing what they’re doing, they’re going to feel more than just a cog in the machine. They’re going to feel important, and staff who feel important learn to feel satisfied in what they’re doing. Mix this up with your employee onboarding program so people know why they’re there from day one.
2. Give Your People Feedback – Even If It’s Not Always Positive
Did you know that over 60% of employees don’t feel appreciated in their job? It’s true, and it’s really not okay! People spend most of their working week with you in the workplace that you created. Sure, you could find someone to fill their role, but why would you want to start all over again and waste time training someone new when you could give your staff the feedback that they crave. You may well have those monthly evaluations of their progress, but that’s not necessarily enough to show them that they’re doing a good job. Give feedback for their work as it happens. There’s no point getting to the end of the month and doing a review of something that happened weeks ago. You also don’t have to give endless praise to your staff. Bad feedback is just as valuable and it prevents a member of your staff making mistakes they’ll repeat. Help them to learn and grow with the right feedback.
3. Improve Your Company Culture
It’s all about atmosphere in a company, and an employee who is new to the game is always willing to dive right in with the company culture to build a connection with it. The problem is that it’s quite difficult to be the newbie in a company and they’re not connected to the culture when they first step foot inside. If you take the time to help your new hire to settle, they’ll adapt better. Not only that, if you get your established staff to help your new people to integrate, it becomes a place they can relax and somewhere they’d love to be. Inclusivity is so vital to this success and if you put their development in the center of what you’re trying to achieve, you’re going to nail it.
4. Give Them A Reason To Stay!
There is a lot to be said for employee empowerment and while knowing someone is different to trusting them, you can get to know your new team member, have some faith in their abilities and let them take control of their own role and responsibilities. Giving people autonomy over the job without micromanagement of everything that they do can be the one thing that develops their skills in experiential learning. You will end up biting your tongue when you see that one person’s way of doing things differs to how you would do it, but that’s the whole reason you hire others to help you in your business: so they can make it work!
5. Show Them You Care About Their Future
How invested are you in the future of your staff? And if you’re not, why? It’s safe to assume that unless you have an impressive career track, each staff member may move onto bigger and better things someday. This is only natural as they progress in their careers and it’s something that you should encourage. Implementing ongoing training programs with EJ4 and fuelling their thirst to learn more and gain new qualifications doesn’t make you look like a fantastic employer, it means you actually care about what happens next for your people. This is an extraordinary thing, because there aren’t enough employers out there that show that kind of interest. Once you do it, you gain that loyalty just like that – snap, snap!
6. Encourage Their Own Ideas
When you get recognized for having an idea that increases the revenue of the company, the feeling of pride is like nothing else. If you can help your staff see their ideas come to life, you’d do that, right? Well, encouraging their own ideas and allowing them to turn their ideas into company projects that contribute to growth is going to show your employees that you value their contribution. It builds dedication, drive and determination to do well, and you did all of that without trying.
7. Relish In A Little Dorky Team Building
Oh, we’ve all – at some point or another – hated the term ‘ice-breaker’. It makes people feel awkward and shudder and want to run away and hide in the bar down the street. Let’s be honest, though, some of the best company memories come from that Eighties disco you once threw just to allow people to bond a little better. Own the dorkyness that comes with team building exercises and you can relax a little, get a little silly and really enjoy each other’s company for a change. It doesn’t need to be cool and hip and full of long, strategic words about relationships – it just has to make you laugh.
When all is said and done, the best way that you can engage your staff is to recognize the effort that they put in and make them feel good about it. Recognize their achievements both in and out of the office and make them feel like you care about both. Let them know you’ve noticed how hard they’re working and how much they take on and give them the kudos they seek from it.
People are what matters – they’re your best resource. Invest in them and you’ll never steer the wrong way.