3 Things Every Manager Can Do to Increase Employee Engagement

There is a direct correlation between the level of employee engagement and the level of productivity, performance and retention. That means that understanding and affecting employee engagement is the responsibility of every manager.

First, I will share that engagement, defined for the purpose of this post as the discretionary effort an employee puts into their job, is not the sole responsibility of the manager or the organization. Employees have a role in expanding their self-awareness to help align themselves to roles that need what they do and like best, and to have a voice in participating in their work in a way that matters. But that is the subject of another blog.

For now, let’s focus in on three things that every manager can do to increase employee engagement.

  1. Know your employees. It seems odd to say this, but the truth is that most managers don’t know their employees’ strengths, liabilities, interests, values and what activates and diminishes their performance. Without this information, you frequently and accidentally respond in unsuccessful or unproductive ways or misalign employees to roles that need more of what they are not good at than what they are good at. Spend time with employees to help develop their inventory of abilities. Use an assessment tool to help create the practical language of their strengths and their liabilities (the behaviors that are the opposite of their strengths that need management). Get guidance from a coach for tools to help all employees learn to look inside themselves to discover their unique abilities and preferences, then to share them with you so you can better guide them to the areas that need what they do and like best. This encourages competence which activates engagement. You don’t feel engaged if you are in a role that doesn’t fit you.
  2. Make time for each employee each week. Relationships are key to trust, and trust drives engagement. Employees want to work for managers who make time for them and treat them as valuable and important in the workplace. Knowing employees’ inventory of abilities and making time for them, will help you connect more authentically and interact more successfully.
  3. Focus on employee development. Today’s employees know they need to be constantly learning and growing. Managers, when they make the time to connect with employees and use that time to help employees assess what works and what doesn’t work in their performance, make learning and growing important in the workplace. This is key in the shift from managing to workplace coaching – to guide employees to better see and assess their performance and to own any required improvements. This encourages greater performance ownership and engagement.

There is no shortage of information and statistics supporting the premise that engaged employees consistently outperform disengaged employees. It is therefore the responsibility of every manager to intentionally choose how to be and what to do to encourage their employees’ engagement.

Take Action
Three simple things can help employees show up more engaged: know them, make time for them and develop them. What are you doing today to improve your employees’ engagement?

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Don’t Drag Your Feet When Hiring New Talent

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Three Ways to Help Your Employees Become More Mindful

Mindfulness is all the rage, and for good reason. Mindfulness is the process of using what you gather by being aware in this moment to be more intentional and effective in your next decision or action. Think of it as going through your work day on purpose (not in habit mode or on autopilot).

Most employees do their jobs without much intention. They get into a routine and they look at customers, their workplace, their colleagues and their lives in very much the same way they did the day before. It’s not a flaw, it is just that we haven’t learned how to be really aware of what is going on in front of us to mindfully and intentionally use it to make our next choices, actions and decisions better. We’re unintentionally mindless, stuck in our habits, missing out on opportunities to see more, do more and be more.

But imagine if all of your employees paid attention on purpose and regularly asked the question, “What could I do to make this better?” What improvements and efficiencies could you see or benefit from? What improvements could result in your customer relationships? How might your workplace culture improve?

Here are three ways to help your employees become more aware and mindful to be tuned in and present, and to do more in the workplace on purpose.

  1. Reframe mindfulness. Many people think mindfulness means meditation – and they are either pulled to it or repelled by it. Though you can certainly develop mindfulness through meditation, I find reframing mindfulness for the workplace to mean “focused attention – paying attention on purpose and using that information to make better decisions.” This reframed definition helps organizations openly support and welcome mindfulness training. Consider making mindfulness an expectation of all roles and a core value of the organization.
  2. Teach mindfulness. Helping your senior managers learn how to be more mindful enables and empowers them to develop the same skills in their people. Engage a coach to help your senior team learn how to be both more aware and mindful. Then, provide education and practice for your employees to help them learn, use and benefit from being more aware and mindful. Constantly reinforce the value of attention and intention as a means to achieve goals and improve results, both personally and professionally.
  3. Applaud mindful performance.  As the saying goes, “what gets rewarded, gets repeated.” When you applaud your employees for their effort and progress in tuning in, thinking more intentionally and acting more mindfully, you encourage them to continue. By naturally paying greater attention, employees will see opportunities to resolve challenges, think differently and improve responses. Be on the watch for these improvements to applaud, support and encourage them.

Being mindful is a way of being in work and life. It is about being tuned in, present and watching on purpose to use the information in this moment to make your next moment better. This yields greater results than the habit and autopilot approaches most of us currently have.

Take Action
Develop your mindfulness habits then commit to helping your employees develop theirs. There is a great big world filled with information for you and your team to notice it, so you can use it to make your next decisions, actions and choices better.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading When is it Okay to Do Just Enough at Work?

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