Learn How to Engage Your Employees in Five Steps
If there’s a business issue that been discussed ad nauseam, it’s employee engagement. A shockingly large percent of the global workforce isn’t engaged at work – more than fifty percent in fact. According to Gallup’s report, “U.S. Employee Engagement Reverts Back to Pre-COVID-19 Levels,” published in October 2020, “…51% of workers are ‘not engaged’ – they are psychologically unattached to their work and company.” This number fluctuated a bit during 2020, as the worldwide pandemic threw every business, large and small, into a tailspin. But as the new normal solidifies itself, we’re finding that employee disengagement is as rampant as ever. So what are leaders to do?
Tip #1: Leaders need to share the full strategy with their people.
When it comes to sharing your organization’s strategy, leaders need to remember that their people are very capable and it is better to share the full story rather than just small pieces of the story. When people have a solid understanding an their organization’s core competencies, knowing exactly what skills would be required to achieve your strategy for the future, they can step up and help bring that strategy to reality. Many may scoff at the idea that it’s possible to get every person in the organization to understand everything it takes to run a successful business. It’s not only possible; it should be the norm for every organization.
And it’s not enough to just tell your people the plan – that’s just the “what.” They also need to understand the “why” behind it and the “how,” which is their specific role in it all.
Tip #2: People need to come to their own conclusions.
Once leaders accomplish tip number one, they must allow their employees the time to process the information they have been given. This means that the strategy can’t be shared on a Monday and rolled out on a Wednesday. People must have the time to synthesize the information, ask questions, and come to their own conclusions. It’s the only way to get them on board and to receive their support.
Leaders must allow people to go on a journey of discovery and draw their own conclusions about critical business issues. Only when people change their conclusions will they change their actions. People will tolerate the directives of leadership, but they will ultimately act on their own.
Tip #3: Everyone must be on the same page.
When employees are able to understand the what, why and how of a strategy, and have the time to digest the information, then leaders are set up for success. This is so imperative because when employees don’t have a grasp of the direction of the company, it creates a number of other potential challenges – lack of employee engagement, reduced productivity, poor levels of customer services – to name a few.
But, if leaders start taking the time to translate their complex language of strategy into a common language of execution, so people can make better decisions like owners, the results will speak for themselves.
Tip #4: Use visualization to convey your messaging.
People learn visually. This has been proven over centuries. As Aristotle said, “The soul never thinks without a picture.” And there’s the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In short, imagery and visualization are extremely powerful and efficient ways to convey messages. As people absorb new information, it forms a picture in their minds. This picture emerges only when people can create links between their existing knowledge and new information.
Visualizing critical business issues creates focused thinking, helping everyone build a shared understanding of the larger systems that determine the effectiveness of their individual actions.
Tip #5: Dialogue is paramount.
If visualization is the first tenet, the second is dialogue – specifically, strategically directed Socratic dialogue. Socrates recognized that learning and change are a matter of asking the right questions, not simply giving the right answers. He developed a system of asking his students questions to get to core truths. He avoided presenting his own conclusions; instead, he sought to immerse learners in exploration and inquiry.
It’s Time for Employee Engagement Level to Rise
Dismal employee engagement stats have plagued the business world for too long. People need an understanding of how a business operates – leaders, you must engage employees in the big picture – and what it takes to win. Are you ready?