How to Improve Employee Engagement
In the traditional sense, engagement is when you find someone, a partner, and you get along so well you decide I'm gonna spend the rest of my life with him or her, and then from that, you decided to become engaged. Employee engagement is no different. It's the same beast. You want to make sure that your employees are engaged with the projects that they're working on and with the company that they belong with. You want to make sure they're engaged, but how do you do that?
Give Them Work
Make sure your employees have work to do. Make sure they have something that they're doing that shows purpose and they feel utilised. The last thing you want to do is have them become bored because when they become bored, they become distracted. When they become distracted, they're no longer utilised and they're disengaged.
What happens next? A whole bunch of work comes in and they start stressing out because they were just getting paid a whole bunch of money for doing nothing. You don't want a lazy staff member. You don't want a lazy workforce. That's why you need to keep your employees engaged by having a good flow of work.
Make Sure They Enjoy the Work
You don't want to stress them out. You want to make sure it's work they enjoy doing and they're actually engaged with. Don't give someone who hates writing a task about writing, and equally, don't ask someone to make a programme or a script for you if they love writing. Utilise your workforce so that you can keep the employees engaged and they create their ownership around whatever it is that the task is that they're doing.
I've got a fantastic team of unicorns that work with me side by side, and I ask them very regularly if they are enjoying what they're doing, is there anything that we could change to better our processes, and how utilised are they currently? I do this so that we can then work out if there are more things that they should be spending their time on.
Like a lot of industries, when it rains, it pours. We can go from having weeks where we're doing the standard 40-hour weeks and then we jump up and we're cruising upwards to 110-hour weeks. That's right, and it is absolutely crazy and a lot of the time after we've had these huge booms I don't push the workload on because I want to make sure everyone's had a bit of time to relax. No one wants to be burnt out. That's gone from being utilised and having a high level of engagement to being over-utilised and burnt out, and the last thing you want is a staff workforce of fizzles and dead fireworks.
You want everything to go off with a bang when it needs to go off. Ask them if there are better ways for their work to be done or if there are things that they could see that could improve their workflow. Once you've got those two things under wrapped, make sure they have ownership of whatever it is that they're doing because it's going to be their life. They're going to be consumed in it.
You want to make sure they're interested in it, and they can see that what they're doing is making a difference. Show them the numbers. Show them the stats. Let them see, 'Okay, this is sweet. I've now created this programme or I've created this process or I've spray painted this car.' Let them see that what they've done has impacted someone's life in one way or another. Maybe it's just your own life. Maybe it's just impacted the bottom line. Whatever it is, make sure they can see that their work is appreciated. Make sure they are engaged. If they're not engaged in the work that they're doing you should shuffle them off to something else.
One of the great things you can do for your business is to keep your staff motivated. Give them reasons to continue striving ahead. If they come to you and say, 'Look, I'd like to do this other project that I think would really help your business out,' lend an ear. See how it would help out. See if we can maybe shift it around if it doesn't fit 100% and make it a project they can work out and work with you. They've walked a completely different path from what you had throughout all their life and so they may have come to you with a fantastic pillar of an idea and if you're there to lend an ear and hear how it goes down, go for it.
Find the Right Compensation
Don't be afraid to ask for some sort of system that they might be interested in working towards. All people don't work for the same money and it sounds weird to say that but there are different people throughout history as well as throughout your business who absolutely love money. They love the Benjamins, the dollar doos, the red backs, or whatever you want to call it. They love coin, and they'll do anything to get some money in their hand.
Then there are other people who work for praise. They just want to be respected and be seen for the fantastic work that they're doing.
Some people also just cruise along, have no real motivation, don't really want money, don't really want to be noticed or have fame or anything like that. They are hard people to work with.
It's always good to run with the motivated team that is motivated towards something and discuss it with your staff. If you want to get them engaged, talk to them. Maybe you'll find some people who really want to become a manager. Maybe some people really want to buy that new car and get that new set of wheels or whatever it is for their car, for their home, or for their family. If that is the case and that is the type of person that you've found, that's cool. You can talk about some sort of programme that you could do with them to allow for them to buy the car through work, offset their tax or whatever the situation is. That could be something that they could be working towards if that's what they want. If they just want straight up coin, that's something else that you can talk to them and have them work towards that.
A Fantastic Employee Doesn’t Equal a Fantastic Manager
If your employee wants to become a manager, that is where you may need to pull in the reigns. Fantastic employees and fantastic technical workers who are great at what they're doing, in their craft, don't necessarily make fantastic managers.
Fantastic managers are fantastic managers. You may have an engineer who is great at problem-solving, sometimes great with people skills, and he or she is able to really sink in and get a lot of appreciation out of seeing the completion of a project. Meanwhile, a manager normally gets more interest out of doing things around the collaborative projects of all of the people and seeing that work come together, but not necessarily working on the tools themselves.
Sometimes, there are crossovers, but normally a great person on the tools, a great technician, does not necessarily mean they're going to be a great manager and in most cases, they're not. So don't always jump to that being an increase. 'I'm giving you more responsibility. You get to take care of a team.' It may actually be more of a slap in the face and when it comes down to talking to them about it and trying to have them reengage now that they're disengaged with the work that they're doing, it's a much harder conversation.
You need to think about the type of person and that comes back to what we're talking about in the last episode. You need to analyse and see are they going to be the best person for this role? Do they want to become a manager for money, or do they want to become a manager just because it sounds cool? Or do they actually want to manage people and teams and the projects? If they want to become a manager for the money, it's not a problem to have the people underneath the manager getting paid more than the manager. The hierarchy of pay does not necessarily have to mean that the people who are underneath the manager get paid less than the manager. The manager needs to know a little bit of everything about everyone on the team. Meanwhile, everyone on the team needs to know a lot about a thing or a couple of things. So it's the skillsets and you make a decision.
I would much prefer having a super engaged, happy engineer working for me than having a disengaged engineer that was fantastic and is now managing staff members and he's able to absolutely know every single problem and solution to everything, but he doesn't get to put that in place and it's disheartening. You don't want to be in that situation.
The Final Word
Make sure you keep your employees engaged. Keep them happy, keep them all together as a group—ia nice, big, sound, happy family. If your employees want to become managers because that's what they see as the next level of pay, or the next logical conclusion in the lifeline of their career, then talk to them and say, 'Is it just for the money?' Because if it's just for money then change it around.
If you have enjoyed this, send us feedback. If there's anything you'd like us to do an episode on, I'd love to hear from you. We're actually running a competition! If you have listened to this episode, jump across to our Facebook page, like the episode and mention it with your name in there we'll put you in the running for a competition where you win 50 bucks. Can't go wrong. Stay good.
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