Apr 26, 2022 Vas Nair

Do You (REALLY) Know How Engaged Your Employees Are?

It’s no surprise that the pandemic has us all marching to a different drumbeat on how best to re-engage as a team. It’s a common topic of discussion, regardless of the size or type of organization. For some, it means onboarding new team members who they’ve not met in-person. For others, it means working with colleagues and business partners who are remote, in the office…plus everything in between. Leaders and their teams have had to re-adjust and figure out the best way to communicate, collaborate and achieve their goals.

So, how well do you know the level of employee engagement and satisfaction?

The reality is that employees are looking for a fulfilling job that pays well, AND an accommodating company culture. Meaning a company that respects their lifestyle choices, for example time off to care for loved ones and the flexibility to choose where they work from.

Disappointed man sitting at a table with a laptop, face in his hand

For leaders, this requires a lot more agility and understanding to motivate and guide the team. Let’s not minimize the fatigue and stress that comes with balancing work and home priorities. For many, the blended work and personal arrangements is a new undertaking. This necessitates flexibility (late Zoom meetings); empathy (learning to see things from another’s perspective); shifting communication channels (are weekly team meetings the way to go?).

Don’t ignore the signs

Under all of this, there could be waning levels of engagement. This occurs when people are working BUT they’re not highly invested in the work that they do. And there might be a variety of reasons for this.

Even if you never understand all of them, focus on what you can do. Regular ‘pulse checks’ can help you stay in touch with how the team is doing.

But first, ask yourself;

  • Is there more absenteeism?
  • Have there been higher instances of conflict among team members?
  • Are people taking on side gigs because their job isn’t fulfilling?
  • Is there a relaxed attitude towards meeting milestones and deadlines?
  • Has there been a decline in communications and staying in touch?

Wake up message to leaders

Remind yourself that you make a difference in an employee’s life!

A young working father with his child sitting beside him showing how engaged employees are

How you ‘glue’ the team together sets the scene for either an inclusive and rewarding work culture or disruption and mistrust. So, take the time to better understand what drives and excites your employees. (Now is NOT the time to be distant!) Every team member is likely to be different, but through your observations and conversations, you’ll be better equipped to engage your employees.

People want to be rewarded extrinsically and intrinsically for their work. Yes, good pay is important – but so is the sense of achievement and contributing to a greater purpose. They want to be part of something meaningful and be acknowledged for their work.  They want to own and enjoy what they do!

Consider these…

Connect and Coach: create twenty-minute time slots for catch-up sessions. You could do this for your direct reports or rotate to include others. Give them this time to ask for your advice, get you up-to-speed on their projects, or simply talk about an initiative outside work. This direct access to you can make a BIG difference in their motivation and engagement.

Spark their development: why not provide stretch assignments or cross-functional collaboration projects? It doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply provide on-the-job learning opportunities where diverse ideas could result in higher engagement and productivity. People look forward to learning something new that they can add to their toolbox.

Two happy engaged employees given each other a high five

Mini mentoring: assign peer-to-peer ‘buddy’ assignments, for example when a new employee joins the team. The newbie has someone to go to during their onboarding phase; and the other team member will feel good that you trust them with the responsibility. Here’s your chance to empower team members.

Share the stories: Establish frequent communications about team or individual success stories. Maybe do this via a monthly email or a bi-monthly meeting. The goal is to recognize good work and develop a stronger sense of purpose for the individual and team.

Facilitating change is the ‘new normal’

Calibrating how teams work successfully (post-pandemic) involves a collective effort. Your role as a leader is to navigate. Help people understand that there has to be a paradigm shift. Meaning a shift in the way we all perceive what motivates and drives a peer, a colleague, or a leader. Don’t assume that people are thinking the same pre-pandemic thoughts about their work priorities and relationships. Simply start by asking what people value in their work and their working relationships. By leading the way, you’re creating a culture that connects people, their work and how they want to work.

Giraffe App - Creators Vas Nair and Sobha Nair

Hi there!

We’re Vas and Sobha Nair, two sisters that have lived and breathed all aspects of human resources for over 50 years between us. Giraffe was born from our global experience coaching leaders and business owners navigate the same tricky workplace issues and discussions that you face. We know the best practices and proven processes that help turn workplace conflict on its head – and we want to share all of this and more with you in Giraffe.

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