Managers face a number of challenges when leading their teams. About 31.5% of Americans are engaged at work, the not engaged workforce accounts for about 51%, and the remaining 17.5% are actively disengaged. These number have a direct impact on lost productivity, absenteeism, workplace accidents, and healthcare costs. Employee engagement, which is a mutual commitment from the organization and the employee, can be a unique challenge for managers who lead large or decentralized teams. Highly engaged employees are invested in the organizational goals, more productive on the job and provide quality customer service.
You may ask yourself, “What can I do to keep my employees engaged?” One simple intervention is acknowledging key events, such as office milestones, successful projects, and tenure. A basic principle of social psychology is that people are motivated to feel like they belong to the group. Recognizing and acknowledging key events is one strategy for creating a sense of belonging on your team. It communicates to your employees that they are valuable individuals, not just valuable employees. Acknowledgements can be a personalized email, handwritten card, or a celebration amongst the entire team. Whatever the strategy, acknowledgements can be a fun (and cost-effective) way to keep employees engaged and feeling like they are valued members on the team.
Engaging employees can be an exciting, dynamic and challenging process for the work unit. When employees are engaged, it builds a sense of cohesion among team members and benefits the quality of work. Do you want engaged employees but don’t know what to start? Here are the first couple steps: Create goals that are meaningful, and make certain employees know them. Allow employees an opportunity to see how they play a part in the “bigger picture” and ensure they are actively involved in meaningful work. Not sure what “meaningful work” is to your employees? No problem, just ask them! Then, be intentional about making them feel that their contributions are appreciated.
Adkins, A. (2015). Majority of U.S. employees not engaged despite gains in 2014. Gallup.com. Retrieved June 17, 2016, from http://www.gallup.com/poll/181289/majority-employees-not-engaged-despite-gains-2014.aspx.
HRDQ. Employee Engagement. ISBN 978-1-58854-771-2
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Saks, A. (2006). Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement. Journal of Managerial Psychology 21, 600-619.