Employee Engagement Takes Teamwork

Studies show that organizations with high employee engagement are more productive and efficient. 

And these companies boast higher retention numbers, which avoids the costs of training new hires when employees leave.

But you can’t fake employee engagement—nor can managers dictate it.

“Top-down solutions might produce clarity, but they don’t inspire buy-in or practicality,” Gallup Business Journal reports. “Top-down decision making misses an opportunity to engage teams in creating and ‘owning’ their own solutions.”

Treat employee engagement as a process, not a one-time event. Action plans formed through management/employee dialogue are a proven strategy to increase long-term engagement.

When evaluating employee engagement, Gallup Business Journal recommends you ask employees five questions to generate participation, determine goals, promote practical action, and encourage ownership:

                1. How do we define success? Gallup’s employee engagement survey features a dozen statements related to the work environment. Managers should listen for unexpected suggestions and also gauge the intensity of feedback about existing issues.

                2. What’s the ideal outcome? Encourage employees to think big, starting with the best solution—which might not always be the most expensive one. These conversations breed empowerment and create a benchmark for achievement.

                3. How far must we go to reach the ideal? Talking about your shortcomings as a team or organization isn’t easy. But a transparent discussion builds goodwill and creates a platform for dialogue. And everyone can take responsibility for processes or products under their control.

                4. Which will have the greatest impact? Engagement that isn’t tied to performance is pointless. Employees want to weigh in on changes that can make their jobs more efficient or effective. Giving staff input creates ownership and encourages them to speak up if other improvement opportunities arise.

                5. What is every team member willing to do? All employees should leave this discussion with “next steps,” and the knowledge that their role is important to the team.

Managers can and should influence engagement. But by involving your team in answering these five questions, you tie engagement to actions that can improve your workplace—and allow you to keep members’ needs top of mind.

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