The importance of employee engagement is well-known, by helping to reduce attrition rates and creating a positive working culture. By using three of the behavioural shifts as outlined in this blog, you can achieve a more positive working environment by focusing on effective teamwork as well as inspiring your team to strive for characteristics you exemplify.
By developing a leadership style that recognises, and consequently builds on, each employee’s self-esteem, can make employees feel appreciated and valued. As a result, this can motivate your staff to work together as a cohesive team to further the organisation’s goals. This can also be achieved through visual feedback you offer through your conduct in a team setting.
This is evidenced by researchers at Stanford University in literature in the ‘Journal of Experimental Social Psychology’. The premise of this study is that, ‘increased people’s motivation and enjoyment in relation to difficult tasks [that require teamwork], leading to greater perseverance and engagement and even higher levels of performance’. One of the lead authors noted ‘Simply feeling like you’re a part of a team of people working on a task makes people more motivated as they take on challenges’. Therefore, increasing intrinsic motivation and employee engagement at the same time.
Some examples of good managerial practice include embodying resourcefulness, looking for solutions rather than problems, or removing a feeling of personal inadequacy in your leadership ability. You can inspire your employees to build these characteristics themselves. Furthermore, by not engaging in complaining or condemnation you are, in turn, trickling down these qualities. Also, by avoiding being overly critical, you can nurture a more positive environment which we go into further detail below. In addition, by addressing employee concerns, you can make your staff feel they are heard and valued. For example, through appropriate training, you can address staff concerns about their work limitations. This way they can see they are capable of more than that what they imagined.
It makes sense that people produce their best work when they are able to relax. This is because they believe they are capable of their job role but also see the opportunities for challenge and progression at work. As a result, this often leads to a sense of fulfillment.
We can often replicate this sense of ease at work through schemes where employees feel that they have a sense of worth. The difficulty in achieving this “environment of ease” could be the implementation of such initiatives. A good example of a positive scheme is the support of a pension in retirement. Rather than tapping into a fear-based mentality, the success of auto-enrollment in public pension schemes has proved relatively successful. This is because employees don’t have to worry about contributions in the first instance as it is set up automatically; empowering the employee to make plans for their future.
Another way to create an “environment of ease” would be to create a flexible working policy. Some people naturally do their best work in the morning as an ‘early bird’ or in the evening as a ‘night owl’. A forward-thinking employer might allow employees to come in later in the morning in order to maximise productivity. This makes sense from an organisational and employee engagement standpoint. This is another example of empowering the employee to make choices that suit them on a personal level. Therefore, this often leads to better engagement with tasks at work.
One situation could be a parent who wants to drop off their child off at school each day. According to the Charted Institute of Personnel and Development, a proactive employer would create flexible arrangements that would lead to a greater sense of worth.
Some employers often forget that workers have their own lives to lead outside of work. We are often taught in childhood to abide by a golden rule: treat others how we wish to be treated. So, a proactive employer will treat the employee as a whole person with their own personal struggles, circumstances and life situations beyond their control.
To build on the concept of the golden rule, a good manager would ask: how can I treat my employee as I would want to be treated if I was in their shoes? The best place to start is to enquire with open conversations. ‘How is your family life?’ ‘What are your interests?’ ‘How have the past few weeks been going for you?’.
By asking these types of questions with regularity and frequency should prompt open and honest conversations. This allows the employer to tailor tasks to particular people in their organisation with these personal circumstances in mind. This also enables the manager to mitigate any potential negative impacts to work outcomes.
Overall, the key here is to have a positive culture and capable leadership. By leading by example and developing your organisation’s team synergy, this will help employees feel at ease through the positive culture you have generated. By having open and honest conversations, this provides both sides with quality feedback to empower them to make better choices, for the benefit of themselves and the organisation.