The term employee engagement refers to the degree to which employees are “fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work.” An engaged employee is more likely to embrace and promote the goals of the organization, speak positively about it, and recommend the company to prospective employees and customers.
There is no shortage of articles, books, and other resources dedicated to employee engagement; one can read about it endlessly. Three key points stand out for managers to consider when thinking about the subject.
1. Employees Don’t Think About Engagement
Employee Engagement is a buzzword loved by HR directors, management consultants, and business writers. It is mostly meaningless to actual employees. You’ll never hear a worker say, “I feel highly engaged at this company,” or, “I wish my supervisor would do more to engage me.”
As best selling author Rodd Wagner writes, “Enthusiastic workers talk about jobs and managers in much the same terms they always have. ‘I have a wonderful boss.’ ‘We have a great team.’ ‘I work for a cool company.’ ‘I’m really happy working there.’”
2. Emotions Drive Decisions
A recent Dale Carnegie study makes the point that, “Humans like to say they make rational decisions, but in reality they are driven by emotions.” Employees want to feel valued and they want to like the people they work for.
The supervisor makes a huge difference in how an employee feels about their job—good or bad. “It is the immediate supervisor who is the chief emotional driver in the workplace; reactions to him or her explain 84% of how employees feel about their organization.”
3. Communication is Crucial
Supervisors should be generous with positive reinforcement. Be quick to praise an employee or team for a job well done. “A simple call or message saying ‘good job’ will do. If the accomplishment is huge, you can invite your team to an impromptu celebratory lunch or dinner.”
Managers need to give continual feedback to employees. Don’t wait for an annual performance review. Employees don’t stick around for years and years as they did in the past. “This is only one reason why more frequent employee reviews and feedback are necessary” to keep employees engaged. Expect more of this now that Millennials make up the largest segment of the workforce.
Whether they call it employee engagement or some other phrase, good managers want dedicated employees who feel good about their jobs. It is important for managers and employees treating each other with respect — that will never change.