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Look to Leadership Behaviour if Employees Aren’t Engaged


Engaged employees can be a business’s greatest asset. They tend to be happier, more productive, create more profit, and produce less turnover. However, an engaged employee base doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are leadership behaviors that can encourage engagement and ones that will destroy it. If you are having problems with employee engagement, you have a leadership issue.

How can you create engaged employees? Many business owners and managers assume that this requires money or time that could interfere with other aspects of the business. However, the truth is just the opposite: creating employee engagement is more about small things that add up to more productivity and enthusiasm.

Here are five concrete employee engagement ideas that can inspire your workers and give your business the advantage it needs.

1. Be Engaged

Engaged leadership is more likely to have engaged employees. After all, you are setting the tone and the standard. If leaders are not bought into the company, the employees will sense this attitude and follow suit. Your leadership, from CEO down to manager, need to be inspired and enthusiastic about the company vision. This attitude is contagious. If you are having trouble creating employee engagement, it may be time to look at the engagement of leadership.

2. Set SMART Goals

People thrive when they are working together toward a vision through specific goals. However, it is up to you to ensure that your employee goals are tailored to create engagement. The best and most engaging goals are set using the SMART acronym – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. When you create these types of goals and reward or acknowledge employees that meet them, you will create a culture engagement and help employees avoid burnout. Goals that do not meet this standard are vague and can create confusion or insecurity in the very people you are supposed to lead. Smart leaders set smart goals.

3. Create a Fun Company Culture

How fun is it to work at your business? If your employees are not smiling, laughing, and playing throughout their workday, they are probably not engaged. All work and no play make a company dry and uninspired. Fun is an essential part of human existence; it’s up to you to make your company culture one of fun and play. Employees who are serious all day will quickly revert to sarcasm, bad attitudes, and other mood-killers that eat at productivity and morale. Create a company culture that is fun and encourages bonds to the company, leadership, and fellow employees. Consider volunteering together, having a monthly coffee date as a company, and other low cost bonding ideas that reap huge rewards.

4. Watch Your Vocabulary

Your choice of words can create engagement or kill it. First, always use civil and polite language that shows employees that they are respected and valued. Words like please and thank you cost nothing but create a culture of positivity and respect. Your employees should feel that they are important and that their contributions are valued. Second, learn to state goals in an active rather than passive way: “Bob will create a portfolio” rather than “A portfolio will be created.”
Passive language reduces engagement by removing the person from the process. Last, consider the underlying connotations of words you use in everyday work communications. You and your leadership should be promoting respect, positivity, and engagement rather than killing it.

5. Encourage Transparency

Do your employees know what leadership does all day? Are they aware of the company vision, plans for the future, and challenges? Your employees should have a good idea of where the company is headed and what they are working toward. Even negative news can be shared as a challenge to be faced together. If your employees do not understand the inner workings of your company, they will feel less engaged and even uneasy about their future.

Creating employee engagement is not magic. There are concrete things that you and other leadership can do to keep your employees excited about their jobs and working toward the company vision. Implementing these five goals will set you on the path to a more engaged and more productive employee base. Maintaining engagement is an essential part of creating a company culture of success.


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