Engagement offers tremendous dividends to any business, small or large. If you need proof, just take a look at the results of a study reported in the current issue of Harvard Business Review (HBR). It cites employees who are tuned in and turned on by their job and workplace are 32% more committed to the organization, 46% more satisfied with their work and self-report 125 % less burnout.
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“They routinely show up at work, they’re less likely to quit, they go above and beyond the call of duty, and they attract people who are just as committed to the job,” the authors of, Creating Sustainable Performance, write in the HBR article. “Moreover, they’re not sprinters; they’re more like marathon runners, in it for the long haul.”
And that’s what you want. You want employees who are committed, excited and in it for the long haul. But in order to achieve this, managers must also be fully engaged. We’ve created a Dulye & Co. online pulse check for managers and employees to gauge just how involved they really are. Click here and take a few minutes to rate yourself. I’ll share results in my webinar and future Fox Business column.
In the meantime, take on these five tips to boost your performance, as a manager, and that of your team.
No. 1: Get invested. This translates to time. You have to make an investment of your time to bring out the best in your employees and get them engaged. This means, you have to build time into your schedule. I don’t care if you have an old-school wall calendar or tablet-driven computer; you have to build in time every day to check in with employees – face-to-face or over the phone if you work virtually. Reach out and drive engagement. For those co-located with your team, take 30 minutes a day to walk the halls and stop by work areas to see what folks are doing and talking about. If you’re in a small business, opt to bring folks together for a quick huddle and talk about how things are going. You can do this by telecom if you’ve got a virtual team like mine.
No. 2: Get immersed. Physically get out of your office so you can personally experience the dynamics of the workplace. If you have an employee café, go there to have a morning cup of coffee or afternoon snack a few times a week. You can eat alone or sit with a group of people. The point is to make yourself visible. These practices will help you see what’s going on outside of the four walls of your office, Look around and most importantly, listen.
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No. 3: Get interested. Demonstrating interest requires a skill in asking questions. Learn the art of authentically asking open-ended questions – those that don’t trigger a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer automatically. So, if you see a poster above the copy machine or a flyer for a company event or a new slogan plastered on the wall, ask an employee to tell you about it. Don’t walk by it and presume you know the message. Your interchange will release dialogue and get others engaged. If you get into the groove of asking questions, it’s a really great practice for the art of striking up conversation, and not only that, it will help you learn. So ask questions!
No. 4: Get interactive. The gift of asking questions and knowing how to ask them (in a non-intimidating way) is that you’re going to get feedback in return. That feedback will help you become even more interactive. Go beyond simply listening to the feedback. Jot down a few notes and share what you’ve learned with your team or a customer. You can go from thriving on feedback as a conversation starter to actually changing how you do business.
No. 5: Get better. All of the previous four steps comprise a process for engaging others. You need calibration on how you are doing. One way to measure your progress is to have a trusted colleague shadow you to evaluate your interactions. Did you check your watch the whole time? Come across really interested or patronizing? Another approach is to circle back with a few employees you checked in with, and have them openly canvas feedback from their colleagues to share with you. I’ve made it even easier for you to use an online pulse check from my firm’s measurement group. Check in now, and ask your team members to do so. Our metrics succinctly capture what’s going well and what’s not. You need this feedback!
By truly investing the time and the energy to engage your employees, you can boost business during these tough times—and have fun along the way. So just do it!
Linda Dulye is internationally recognized for helping many companies go spectator free. A former communications leader for GE and Allied Signal, Linda established Dulye & Co. in 1998 with a practical, process-driven approach for improving communications and collaboration through an engaged workforce— a formidable competitive advantage, that she calls a Spectator-Free Workplace™.