I’m often asked the best way to keep employees and keep them happy. As well as “How do you keep your teams so fired up?” I usually reply by first of all asking, “Why are your employees unhappy?” Followed by, “Do you know why people are leaving your business and why they’re so disengaged?”
Until you know what the problems in your organisation are no one can give you the answer or work on a solution. If you throw money at it, by increasing commissions, salary or bonuses and nothing changes you have a new problem, which is now more costly than before.
Here are some easy steps to help with workforce engagement:
1. CORE VALUES
Does your business still embody it’s company values? Does your company have a set of values? Are your company values out of date?
If your business is not following it’s core values it may be that your organisation is like a ship without a rudder. Everyone from top to bottom needs to know what the business stands for and is all about.
2. LOOK IN THE MIRROR
In terms of engagement, it starts at the top. Are you engaged? Does your team see you with your shoulders back and head held high and a smile on your face every day? Do you ever spend time with your team getting to know them outside of work?
It is imperative that your team sees you enjoying the ride and being fully focused, even in the tough times.
Your people will mimic what you do and more importantly, your demeanour will either give or take energy from them.
3. ERADICATE NEGATIVE INFLUENCE
Once company values and direction are agreed on, ensure everyone is working towards them. This really does mean everyone! If someone isn’t buying into the philosophy of the business when everyone else is, you must be strong and remove them. Negativity affects more people than you think and left unchecked will increase the unengaged proportion of a workforce and seriously affect productivity. Even if it’s your best salesperson be strong and cut them out quickly!
Your employees don’t just want to know what’s going on; they love to know what’s going on! Communication is one of the most important things you need to do to keep your team engaged. People will follow a leader who opens up and shares what’s going on – good or bad – and does so with confidence and humility. When you take ownership of a problem, they will help fix it if you let them know and include them in finding the solution!
5. ANTIQUATED MANAGEMENT
You can’t manage a company with the old ways of “I’m paying them, so they should perform to a high standard!” Or, “I’m paying them so I can manage them as hard as I want!” On the one hand, don’t manage your staff in fear of them leaving but on the other, managing like a Victorian schoolmaster won’t help either.
Push your team to attain targets in an inclusive but firm way. When they attain those targets celebrate with them. It is human nature to want to grow and develop, and your team will enjoy stretching to reach their goals, if they’re not, you need to look at the team and/ or the goals.