Posted By: Marc Tillery /
Engaged employees are the driving force behind any productive workplace, whether it’s a construction site, an industrial kitchen or an office. According to a 2012 study by Gallup, organizations with greater ratios of engaged workers to disengaged were significantly more productive and profitable, ranked higher in customer satisfaction, and had lower turnover and absenteeism rates.
Yet, Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report found overall employee engagement in the US workforce is alarmingly low, with 70% of American workers “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.” Customer service employees, in particular, had the lowest engagement levels.
The good news is improvements to employee productivity don’t have to be complicated, time-consuming, or expensive. Here’s how to enhance employee engagement and, by extension, productivity.
Communicate with Your Workers – Whether they are temporary hires or direct hires, employees like to be in the loop. Has a deadline been pushed up requiring a ramp up in production? Are several workers out sick, requiring extra work from those who are there? Or has an employee just welcomed a new baby into their family? Hold regular huddles or meetings to make employees aware of circumstances that affect their day-to-day job, as well as the joyful or difficult events in people’s lives that they want to share. These meetings help employees feel a greater sense of control and to feel more connected to their coworkers.
Likewise, workers want to understand the long-term outlook for the company they work for. Newsletters and emails are a smart way to share important information about management shifts, promotions, and large-scale organizational changes.
Listen to Your Workers – Communication is a two-way street. Make sure you give employees opportunities to communicate any workplace issues they have. This can be through one-on-one discussions or through a physical or online comment box that lets workers stay anonymous. Once you’ve heard what they have to say, take appropriate actions. If multiple workers complain of an unsafe work environment, there is likely a problem and it’s time to conduct a thorough safety review.
Support Your Workers – Don’t make productivity an uphill battle for your employees. Give them the tools they need to succeed in the form of a strong onboarding process, continued training, and regular constructive feedback.
Encourage Socializing – Scheduling small, regular gatherings among your employees goes a long way towards creating camaraderie and improved engagement. This doesn’t have to be anything complicated or expensive. A once-monthly pizza lunch in the breakroom or occasionally providing boxed coffee for all to start the day pays outsized dividends in happier employees. If you don’t have the time to manage this yourself, give a trusted employee the budget and responsibility to make it happen.
Recognize a Job Well Done – As a manager, it’s all too easy to think pats on the back doled out during employee reviews are enough to last through the year. People need to feel respected for the hard work they do, whether it is grappling with customer complaints at a call center or loading trucks in a distribution center. You don’t have to seek out each employee every day, but do make it a habit to look for what your employees are doing right and let them know you notice and appreciate it.
Finally, tend to employee engagement regularly as you would any other key performance metric. Keeping your workers happy and productive doesn’t just happen. But a little bit of genuine attention that acknowledges your workers as the engine of your business goes a long way.