According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, only “15% of worldwide workers came to work today engaged and ready to maximize their performance.”
As an employer or manager, that statistic should scare you. Employee engagement impacts many aspects of the job, including productivity, creativity, customer service, retention, workplace attitudes, and overall job satisfaction. It also has a major impact on the quality of work produced. Knowing how hard it can be to create and maintain an environment of high employee satisfaction, it is vital that you recognize that employee engagement is one of the biggest influences when it comes to overall business success.
How can you increase workplace engagement and overall satisfaction? In addition to peer recognition programs, meaningful incentives, and revamping company culture, employers need to learn how to make employees feel valued.
Here are five ways to make sure employees feel heard and valued in the workplace:
As a manager you can begin immediately to implement this suggestion. Be available when your employees need you. If they need to ask a question about a project, don’t push them away or make them regret asking in the first place. Furthermore, if you’re always hard to get ahold of, or cancel regularly scheduled meetings with employees, they will start to feel less valued.
When you’re available for your employees, it’s a quick and easy way to connect with them and get to know them better. Your current and future workforce craves a collaborative work environment, and that includes interacting regularly with upper management.
Devote 1-on-1 time
As a manager you’ll also need to regularly check-in with employees. We’re not strictly talking about work feedback or performance reviews (which we’ll get to later). We mean scheduling a time for employees to meet with you and discuss whatever is on their mind — what’s hindering their productivity, status of the department/organization, other team members, overall workload, etc. With these individual meetings, it can reaffirm the importance of that employee on their team. Furthermore, Gallup reported that, “Millennials who meet with their manager on a regular basis are more than twice as likely as their generational peers to be engaged at work.”
The point of these 1-on-1s is for the employees to set the terms on what they would like to discuss with you. For you, the main priority should be to listen, take note of what is and isn’t working, and be proactive when a specific action is needed. You need to show employees that you’re listening. As such, these 1-on-1s should be happening once or twice a month.
Company culture development
Employees should play a major role when it comes to culture development. They should be in the discussion of new company cultural initiatives — be a part of the brainstorming and ideation process. This is a time for them to not only voice opinions, but to learn how they can be more of a team player and connected to the organizational mission and values.
From those discussions, employees should next be an active participant in helping the culture thrive. Whether that’s participating in peer recognition programs, taking the initiative to train other departments or simply knowing and living the corporate values, when employees are a part of company culture development and implementation, they will have a sense of belonging, which directly impacts their value at the organization.
One of the many benefits of recognition is the value it instills in both the giver and receiver. As such, recognition is vital in any workplace culture, but employees should be recognized on a continual basis and, importantly, at the right time. Recognizing an employee a month after they achieved a great result seems half-hearted on management’s side. Employees should feel good when great work is achieved and organizations should have recognition programs in place so that everyone has the chance to be recognized at the right time.
At Awardco, we offer various employee incentive programs that reward employees with items they choose for themselves. Awardco has teamed up with Amazon Business to offer organizations millions of products to employees to redeem in order to get a reward that they truly want, and will actually use. In addition, Awardco offers a social recognition platform where coworkers can take the time to recognize other coworkers, all in real time.
Another way to help make employees heard and valued is to have feedback channels. In fact, it’s something Millennials want in the workplace. According to Gallup, Millennials require more feedback than other generations do, however, they might not always ask for it. So, Gallup suggests that “managers need to take the initiative and increase the amount of feedback they provide — regardless of what their Millennial workers may or may not request.”
Feedback should serve as an opportunity to find new training and skill development for employees. Josh Johnson, CEO at FIDELITONE, explains that instead of crucifying an employee for a mistake, use the opportunity to help grow the employee’s skill set. “Instead of criticizing, use their mistakes as opportunities to make them better at what they do.” And training and career growth is a great way to empower an employee and let them know their value to an organization.
If you feel like employee engagement is lacking in your organization, then chances are job satisfaction is as well. However, when you take the time to make employees feel heard, appreciated and valued, it can positively impact their engagement levels. So, start implementing these five points today!