Engaged employees care about their work and their workplace. And employees who care, want to do their best.
They take initiative. They work overtime without being asked. A highly engaged employee goes above and beyond, not for a paycheck, but because he or she is invested in the success of the company.
But how do leaders go about achieving this level of loyalty, motivation and productivity? Here are 5 ways that great bosses engage their employees.
Any leader worth her salt knows that good communication is key. Great bosses keep employees up-to-date, not only with what's happening in the organisation, but what they are doing on a day to day basis. Keeping people informed creates a culture of dialogue and collaboration, which ultimately makes for a more efficient and productive workplace.
It’s also important to be open and honest with employees. Explain the reasons for change and disclose when things are not going well. Get ahead of the office gossip, which if left to run rampant can create a toxic work culture. It's hard to rally behind a negative workplace.
And, employees can only do their best work when they know what is expected of them, so it's important that this is clearly communicated. A good leader makes sure everyone in the organisation knows what their role is, and explains the expectations for that role.
Employees can't do their best work without the tools, systems and processes they need. Trying to work without the right resources causes frustration, and ultimately demotivation. Nothing dampens morale more than when the front line is let down by the back office.
Employees also need to feel supported in their efforts. Employees won't push themselves, try new things or take initiative if they don't feel safe to do so. Great bosses ensure that workers know it's ok to take a risk.
There’s nothing worse than initiating an employee survey or asking for feedback and then letting it disappear into a black hole. Employees will find it hard to care about their workplace if they don’t feel that it cares for them.
When effective leaders say they will do something for employees, they make sure to follow through. And if there is a problem, they take action to address it. Great bosses act with integrity and their word can be trusted.
Acknowledge the hard work that employees are putting in, and demonstrate how it's paying off. When the company, the team or an individual has a win, recognise that achievement and celebrate it – in a meaningful way.
When leaders create an environment in which success is celebrated, employees want to do their best and share in that success.
Finally, employees need to have a sense of opportunity within an organisation. There must be scope for personal and career growth. It's difficult to stay motivated without a goal to work towards.
Employees are likely to switch off if they don't feel like they are going anywhere. Great bosses make sure people stay engaged with goals to work towards and a clearly defined path to follow. They provide feedback and training in support of career development.