Keeping your team engaged can seem a daunting task, especially if your organisation is faced with common challenges such as budget cuts, rising costs, or an increased workload overall. Employees can be fully engaged in their career, the mission of their employer, and their day-to-day tasks if the environment around them is supportive and conducive to trust. Keeping staff engaged is a continual process that involves many different factors for success. Here are eight ways you can create an engaging workplace for your staff that will foster success and a high level of commitment.
1. Starting off on the Right Foot
The best time to set the right tone with employees is during their first months with your organisation. Having a defined orientation planned can help a new staff acclimate and begin to fit in with the office culture. By involving current staff in orientation events, you will be able to foster new relationships between old and new staff. Having a clear mission for your organisation is key. This mission and additional action points should be laid out to all new employees so that they understand the common goals your organisation is ultimately working toward.
2. Keeping an Eye on Office Culture
While you might not feel as though you can fully control the "feel" within an office space, managers do directly affect office culture, which they can take steps to change if a shift is needed. This can start with managerial style. Being present, engaged, and having an open-door policy when possible can make staff feel comfortable and more connected to supervisors. Having fun is important, and this can start with more projects oriented around teamwork or task forces set up to help with office morale.
3. Soliciting Feedback from the Team
Input on how your organisation is doing can come from many different quarters, but don't forget that your staff will most likely be able to evaluate your organisation better than most. Posting surveys, soliciting anonymous feedback, or allotting time to discuss problems are all ways to show that you are committed to making changes and that input from staff at all levels is valued. When it comes to staff involvement, employees can be tasked to lead meetings on new projects or propose possible changes. Another great way to get staff involved is to encourage individuals to take on roles on interview committees. This will help you get a fresh perspective and to make your organisation feel like a team, not a top-down employer.
4. Keeping Staff Motivated
Make sure your team gets together periodically, especially if there is a lot of work done either on an individual level or if staff work outside of the office frequently. This can be a simple as staff lunches, or more elaborate with off-site team-building exercises or retreats. Whatever type of motivational team-oriented event you want to plan, get these on the calendar as far in advance as possible so these activities won't get shelved.
5. Walk the Walk as a Manager
While you might be busy, it is important to know what your team is going through on the front lines. Try your best to offer help and guidance to staff you when you can, including helping out with part of employees' workload that you would usually supervise. If there is a deadline-oriented project, stepping in and working through busy times with your team will lead to more employee satisfaction across the board.
6. Other Incentives Besides Money
While cash incentives are always appreciated, there are plenty of other things you can do to reward your staff for going above and beyond. Recognition or congratulations at staff meetings can be a motivator, even if this is all you can offer. Offering comp days or time off when work/life balance is lacking in your office can make your employees feel more valued. Covering office perks such as coffee, lunches during deadlines, monthly parking, or commuting costs can usually be written off by your organisation and will make your staff feel taken care of.
7. Continual Professional Development
Time off for personal growth, conferences, and professional development should be encouraged. This will show employees that you are serious about their educational pursuits and understand that their career development can have a direct, positive impact on your organisation in the long run. Encourage staff to seek out opportunities, and have a yearly budget set aside for staff to take advantage of when it comes to short- and long-term professional development goals.
8. Keeping Communication Lines Open
As the leader of your organisation, staff will be looking to you for communication when it comes to topics such as where the company is headed, workload changes, and job security. Be transparent and open with staff on changes and possibilities that are coming up in the near and not-so-near future. Be available to listen to problems or issues staff might have; you might be able to quell any misperceptions or worries that are bouncing around the office. Remember, sometimes a lack of communication can lead to unfounded speculation.
As a manager, it is your role to foster the type of workplace environment where employees can flourish. If you can be a communicative boss, your will staff feel heard and will be much more likely to meet you halfway. Employees will bring their personal talents and strengths to the table on every project or challenge your organisation faces in the future.