Engaging Your Team in Three Steps

Guest post from Chris Ruisi:

Achieving
collective employee engagement is a challenge for most companies, especially in
today’s delicate economy. It’s crucial for business leaders to engage their
workers in order to prosper.

What
is an engaged employee? This team member is fully invested and enthusiastic in
their work because they identify with the company’s overall vision and feel
their job responsibilities contribute to the company goals. They are dedicated
to their specific role, which allows them to work toward the success of the
company as well as their individual success.

Creating a
culture of employee engagement involves three key components, all of which are
related:

·        Vision

·        Leadership
·        Tactics

Vision

Companies who
report high levels of employee engagement share these common characteristics:

·   They have a specific and well communicated vision that is constantly kept it in front of and discussed with their team – it outlines action, not just words. 
 
·    Their employees are able to describe why the organization does what it does and who they do it for.
 
·    Their employees are emotionally attached to the vision, believe in what they do and are committed and loyal to the organization.

So, you need a
“great” vision that your team can willingly buy into, adopt and turn it into
reality. For that to happen, every member of your team must know:
·        What they do
 
·        How to do it consistently well
 
·        Who they do it for (internal and external customers)
 
·        Why they do it – the most important factor
 
·    Where they fit in within their company – so they know that what they do is important and their contribution is valued

 

Now, if you can
correctly “educate” each member of your team on these five points here is what
you will have accomplished – your team will understand how what they do will
help to make the vision a reality, and in turn, they will realize that
achieving the vision will fuel their motivation to make it happen.

Think about it
– do you have a vision; does your team truly understand it and do they
understand the “why” of what they do? Answering these initial questions will
put you on the road to building an engaged team.

Leadership

Leaders get
paid to produce results. It is a known fact that an effective leader is only as
good as the team they assemble (recruit and select), develop (properly train)
and lead (set expectations, accountabilities and goals). If the leader is not
effective, then it stands to reason that the team will not perform well on a
consistent basis and they are most likely not “engaged.”

To create an
effective culture of employee engagement, leaders must:

·       
Understand reality and explain why the “status quo” needs to change
 
·        Create the vision and show their team the way
 
·        Spell out timetables and milestones to measure progress
 
·        Show no fear
 
·        Don’t offer or accept excuses
 
·        Acknowledge the right actions and say “thank you”
 
·        Set performance expectations and hold people accountable to get the job done
 
·        Challenge their team to help them grow and “stretch” their capabilities
 
·        Reward the right actions –those that move the organization closer to the vision
 
·        Never accept “below average” and act quickly when poor performance has been identified
 
·        Listen to and solicit feedback

The obvious
questions for you are – How do stack up to these characteristics? Which ones
should you start doing? Which ones can you be better at?  When you do adopt these practices, will they
follow your “lead?”

Tactics

So you have a
vision and your leadership skills are up to the challenge, now what are some
ways – tactics – you can use to create a healthy employee engagement culture?

Consistent
Communication
: Employees want to know how the organization is doing, how
corporate goals are being accomplished and how what they do contributes to
achieving corporate objectives.

Interaction: Employees
leave organizations because of their direct supervisor. The engagement of
employees is tied to the leadership practices of their direct supervisor.

Employee
Development
: Employees want the opportunity to develop and grow professionally.
They need opportunities to grow in their job and within the organization.
Managers should be constantly coaching their employees to fine tune skills and
develop new ones.

Team
Environment
: Strong employee engagement is dependent on how well employees get
along, interact with each other and participate in a team environment.


Trust: Employees
need to trust each other as well as their leadership. Employees are constantly
watching leadership to see how their decisions affect the strategic direction
of the organization and if their behaviors reflect what they say.

Clear
Expectations
: Employees need to know what is expected of them. This is
accomplished by giving specific goals as well as the training, tools and
resources needed to perform their job.

Reward and
Recognition
: Employees need to feel validated and acknowledged as a valued part
of the organization. Rewards and recognition should be integrated into the way
employees are managed on a day-to-day basis.

Employee
Satisfaction
: Employees need to feel like they are part of the process and that
their thoughts and ideas matter. They are on the front line and know best about
how work should be performed. Actively soliciting employee feedback is a very
effective way to engage employees.

So there you
have it – vision; leadership and tactics – the three critical components of a
healthy and productive culture of employee engagement.  It’s now up to you to pull it all together
and make it happen.

Bio: Chris Ruisi helps organizations and
individuals achieve dramatic business growth through enhanced leadership and
team development. Ruisi is a nationally recognized executive coach,
leadership expert, professional business and leadership speaker, top-ranking
author and radio show host who challenges business leaders to “Step
and Play Big.” Drawing on his more than 35 years of experience as a
senior-level corporate executive, Ruisi uses his wealth of knowledge to
help business professionals develop the practical skills and solutions
necessary to navigate the risks and demands of the current economic climate.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisRuisi