Three Ways Leaders Can Keep Their Workforce Engaged
Keeping the workforce engaged is a growing problem for businesses. Employee satisfaction is at an all-time low, employees are resigning at record rates, and technology is creating skill gaps throughout the workplace.
While such issues are impacted by a range of factors, one that can help mitigate them is a strong leader. A strong leader can improve employee satisfaction, reduce burnout and increase workplace productivity by creating a healthy workplace environment.
To keep the workforce engaged, leaders need to display three key traits to manage their teams effectively. These include a willingness to engage in dialogue, an approach to understanding employees' strengths and weaknesses, and the skill to provide alignment and clarity. Here’s how these skills can be effectively used for the best results.
Have Meaningful Dialogue
Meaningful conversations are extremely important in the workplace. These conversations can be used to help employees solve problems, develop strong workplace relationships, and take action. But how can leaders make them a part of their workplace strategy? Here are three different ways to do just that.
It’s crucial that leaders provide a way for employees to voice their concerns. Just 46.4% of employees feel valued in the workplace, with 10.7% reporting that they don’t feel valued at all. If employees feel unheard they will begin to stop voicing their opinion. This can create a divide in the workplace and lead to a toxic workplace environment. To help employees feel heard leaders can:
- Offer an open-door policy
- Create quarterly surveys
- Host a monthly meeting for employees to voice concerns
Having a job without a future goal in mind can leave employees feeling like they’re at a dead end. Leaders need to have regular conversations with employees about their future as well as develop a performance review methodology. They can do this by implementing the following:
- Development goals based on an employee's skills
- Quarterly one to one conversations to discuss an employee's goals and progress
- Focus conversations on skills and progression
In the UK alone, 46% of new employees want to leave their job within the first six months. Having a grassroots retention strategy can help to improve retention and keep new employees engaged from the moment they begin. One such strategy is a stay interview, where a leader will ask several questions to help employees feel like a crucial part of the business. These include:
- What is your favorite part of your job?
- What would make your job better?
- What is your least favorite part of your job?
Each question lets leaders connect with their team members and understand what aspects of their jobs they enjoy. It also provides leaders with areas for improvement and helps to establish trust, which is crucial for engagement and retention.
Understand An Employees Strengths And Gaps
The second trait a leader must have is the skill to understand there’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to management. Different employees thrive under different working styles and in different locations. The mistake most managers make is assuming their style will fit their team's style. This is rarely the case. Instead, leaders need to understand where employees thrive and where they can improve.
There are certain times when the needs, wants, and desires of an employee are not compatible with the goals of the organization. For example, healthcare. Due to the nature of the work, employees are often required to be at the hospital, even if their roles aren’t patient facing. Therefore, an employee who thrives in a remote work environment may not be the best fit. This is where understanding an employee's strengths and gaps is important.
This particular strategy requires transparency, creativity, and alignment. While most workplace policies are already in place, exploring creative ways to work and showing a willingness to be flexible will help to keep engagement high. For example, on a team with few remote positions available, it's important for leaders to be flexible around their employees' needs. An office-first culture doesn’t necessarily mean an office-only culture. There may be ways to meet organizational culture while ensuring employees can find the right work-life balance.
Provide Alignment And Clarity
As well as personal flexibility, employees also want to feel like their work is meaningful. It's important that leaders show team members how their work supports business goals and their own careers. If employees lose clarity on the importance of their work, their engagement will soon decrease.
Communication Is Key To Workforce Engagement
With the workplace changing faster than ever, communication is crucial to keep teams engaged. Leaders throughout the business must show a willingness to engage in dialogue, understand their employees, and navigate the needs of the individual as well as the needs of the business to thrive.
Effectively doing this throughout the organization will not just keep teams engaged, but will also help teams build stronger bonds, thus increasing workplace productivity and creating a workplace where employees can thrive.