Managers who know how to engage their team can make all the difference in job satisfaction.
With a title like that, this section should be called “Four Things You Should Do To Engage With Your Team,” but I’ll let you in on a secret: the reason managers can’t engage with their teams is because they simply don’t know-how.
The good news is, that it’s not too late to learn. Managers who know how to engage their team can make all the difference in job satisfaction.
In fact, according to an engagement survey conducted by Gallup, 52% of respondents said they would leave their current workplaces if given the chance.
If that doesn’t sound like a lot, consider this: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “almost half of all employees voluntarily leave their jobs every year.”
Here’s what you should do so you’re not contributing to these scary statistics:
Create a culture of appreciation
Acknowledge and reward good work. It’s not just about what you say, it’s also about how you say it.
Be sincere; be specific; be timely. For example, if you’re recognizing the team for a recent project, go out of your way to thank individuals who went above and beyond.
Make sure they know how much their extra effort contributed to the company’s success.
And don’t wait until annual reviews to give praise! Praise in real-time has a much bigger impact on employee engagement than praise at year-end because it shows employees that their hard work is being recognized as they do it.
In addition to saying thank you, managers should embrace customizing rewards based on each employee’s goals and interests, rather than giving everyone the same thing all the time (e.g., coffee mugs).
How can you get creative with recognition? I once saw an HR manager buy Lego blocks for an entire department after learning that one of his employees had been building Lego models since childhood and was excited about sharing them with coworkers at lunchtime.
The department loved showing off their individualized creations around the office — plus the HR manager looked like a rock star for being so thoughtful!
It may seem obvious, but make sure your gratitude is specific — even when handing out bonuses or other generic rewards.
A $50 gift certificate could mean nothing if it comes without any context on why it was chosen or given out.
But add something purposeful (“I know hiking is one of your passions”) or personal (“I thought of you when I saw this”…) and suddenly there’s the emotional value associated with it that motivates people to keep up the good work in order to receive more such gifts in the future!
Encourage them to ask questions and give feedback
You should also encourage your team to ask you questions and give you feedback. Ask them for their ideas about the current project and what they think of yours.
Ask them to do an assessment of their own performance in this project, or even ask them to do an assessment of your performance in leading the project so far.
Ask what they would do if they were you, or ask what you could be doing better.
Asking questions is a great way to get people talking, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to interact with your team!
Make sure they can do what they need to do their jobs well
Put bluntly, you’re the manager.
One of your key roles is to ensure that your team has everything they need to do their jobs well and get results.
Your team members shouldn’t have to go scrambling around looking for what they need or be forced to make do with inadequate tools.
Make sure they’re provided with all the necessary resources, whether it’s a computer monitor that works or a desk in an organized office space! In order for people to feel engaged, there really needs to be some engagement.
Make work feel like a community
If your employees are punching the clock and going home at the end of the day, they probably aren’t engaged.
But if they feel like work is a community, they’ll be more motivated to do their best.
As a manager, you can create this feeling of community by planning team-oriented events that help people bond and share experiences together.
You’re not trying to make everyone best friends — in fact, that could backfire — but you are trying to get everyone to understand how important each person is to make the company work.
The things your team does together don’t have to be huge or complicated: it could be as simple as getting pizza for lunch on Friday or ordering in dinner on the busiest nights (if your budget allows).
Or maybe you can pick one charity event per quarter for the whole team to participate in together.
The main point is that these shared experiences will bring your employees closer together and increase their sense of community with each other — and with you!
Ultimately, we want our team members to thrive.
We want them to be excited to come in and do their best work every day.
In order to achieve this goal, the first step is to make sure they feel heard and valued by their bosses.
A manager can do this by setting up regular one-on-one behavior check-ins, encouraging employees to bring their whole selves to work, creating team-building events from time to time, and rewarding hard work with small rewards.
The point is that you can build a healthy and happy environment for your team by promoting positivity and generating a sense of camaraderie through these simple strategies.
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