By Perminus Wainaina
As an entrepreneur or manager, you love what you do and you are willing to work hard to make your business or department successful.
But what about the people working for you or below you? Would your business or department be different if everyone on your team came to work with the same drive and passion as you?
When you consider this, you’re imagining the power of engagement. Engagement encompasses many factors: connecting people with the deeper purpose of what they do, building trust, and much more.
When employees are engaged, it will lead to high morale levels and better performance.
You might not have the mammoth budget of a billion shilling company like Safaricom. However, there is a lot you can do to build engagement and productivity in your team without spending a coin, whether it’s a team of one or 100.
The good news is that improving morale and productivity doesn’t have to involve costly “team-building” outings or employee parties. The best ways to boost engagement are simple and cost-effective.
How To Increase Employee Morale & Productivity
1. Increase Your Transparency
Building trust with your team can have a huge impact on their engagement. And, one of the best ways to do this is to be more transparent.
Being transparent means being open and honest with your employees. It means explaining why you make decisions, always telling the truth, admitting when you make a mistake, and sharing your own hardships and uncertainties. In short, it means conceding that you’re human, just like everyone else on your team.
Your team wants to be able to relate to you. Transparency makes this possible. Transparency is much easier for small businesses than larger corporations. However, it can be challenging to achieve in business because so many people, managers and organizations alike, feel the need to make decisions in secret or appear “larger than life” to those they lead.
It’s time to throw these ideas out the window. Transparency will help you build more authentic relationships with your team. It fosters open and honest debate, which can resolve problems faster, and, most importantly, it builds trust. Trust is key when it comes to relationships.
2. Clarify Work Expectations
Do your employees know what you expect of them? Do they understand how important their jobs are? Do they know how to prioritize their most important tasks so that their real work gets done?
All too often, we assume that employees know what their jobs entail. But this is a dangerous assumption to make. Your expectations go beyond a job description; they include your expectations for behaviour, your approach to customer service, and your ethical standards etc.
Clarify your expectations, set clear performance goals. Your team needs to know when they’re performing well, and when they need to work harder to improve. It’s important to hold your team accountable for these goals.
Last, make sure everyone on your team understands the “why” behind their job. This means communicating how their work positively affects the business. Look for ways to keep connecting each of your employees to this larger purpose.
3. Give Your Employees A Voice
In many businesses, employees show up, do their work, and go home for the day. They don’t have any say in the decisions that happen within the organization. This lack of involvement can really disconnect people from the work they’re doing because they feel as if they don’t have a stake in that organization’s future. Without a stake, they don’t care.
You can boost your team’s engagement simply by giving them a voice. Ask them how they feel about some of the upcoming decisions you have to make, and debate with them over the best way forward. What are their ideas for improving customer service, or your latest product offering?
While you can’t let your team members in on every decision you have to make, you can at least listen to what they have to say on some issues. When someone does come up with a great idea, give them the space to turn it into a reality.
4. Build a Culture of Appreciation
When was the last time you thanked your employees for the work they do?
It’s easy for managers and business owners to get so caught up in the demands of running a business that they forget to show appreciation to the people who are on the front lines or who are meeting expectations. But these people make your business possible, and it’s essential that you show them how much you appreciate their hard work.
Expressing gratitude starts with a simple but powerful “thank you” to employees who stepped up and went above and beyond, or solved a pressing problem. This is most powerful when it’s in person and, ideally, in front of their peers.
As managers & business owners, we often overlook the importance of engaging staff simply because we’re wearing 20 different hats and trying to get a million things done in a day. However, the time you set aside to engage with your employees will pay off tenfold.
Engagement is all about investing in your team so that they feel energized, passionate, and fulfilled at work. They’ll experience greater job satisfaction and a greater sense of loyalty to your organization.
Of course, your business benefits as well. Employees will give you their best work because they know you appreciate what they’re doing. Before you think of spending money in team building activities, try and implement the above.
Perminus Wainaina is the Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services. A leading HR consultancy firm that offers recruitment, training & HR consultancy services. With over 10 years of experience in recruitment & training, our goal is to help employers succeed by maximizing their staff output. Contact us today for your recruiting & training needs.N.B: Would you like us to consider you for a job opening? Boost your job search. Upload Your CV Here. It's FREE