The Gallup Organization for years has said that engaged employees are more productive, more loyal to and advocate more effectively for their organizations than the reverse.
News Flash: They’re right.
The open question is how to achieve employee engagement. The second question is how much can an organization really do to create that engagement.
Here are three tips that at least can give you a place to start.
Actively seeking out feedback demonstrates that leaders value their employees. In fact, employees tell researchers that being listened to by their supervisors and other leaders makes them feel like the organization cares about them.
Listen to employees and foster employee engagement following the HEAR tool:
Honor: Don’t multitask when you talk with your team. Make appropriate eye contact. Don’t interrupt. Common sense, right?
Echo: Paraphrase the issue or problem like this. “Let me just echo back to make sure I understand, you’re saying…” You have to listen actively when your team member is talking and then put things into your own words, share, and listen again.
Ask: Questions demonstrate your interest. Probe, respectfully, to get to the bottom of an issue or problem. Don’t assume, ask. Say, “Could you give me an example…? What did we do before that didn’t work? What would have to happen for this to work?”
Respond: Be encouraging of dialogue. If confronted with resistance, or even hostility, stay positive. Never retaliate in like kind. Instead, draw out the resistance by starting again at the H and work your way through.
2. Don't leave information out
Authenticity and transparency are increasingly important to your team. Use the CORE tool:
Changes: What’s changing or needs to change? How does this change relate to other changes from the past?
Objectives: What are we trying to accomplish as a result of the change? How do those objectives relate to our overall objectives? What do you want people to think, feel and do as a result?
Reasons: Why are we doing what we’re doing? This is the point most often left out. Share the reasons to build credibility and a sense of shared purpose.
Effects: What’s the impact on our people, suppliers, customers, communities? Share effects to forestall speculation. Sure, there are times when you can’t, but that’s not the usual case. Be brave and trust your employees. If they resist, go back to the HEAR tool!
3. Follow the 4Ps
The 4Ps connect head and heart while you communicate the CORE:
Purpose: What do we want to accomplish in our communication interaction? Inform? Inspire? Validate? Explore?
Picture: Words engage on the intellectual level. Imagery on the emotional level. Paint a picture using vivid, descriptive language – or use images, charts, graphs, multimedia, anything that helps people “see” what you’re talking about.
Plan: Share the how – how will we attain our objectives? Realize our ambitions? People want to know that leaders have struck a path through the issues and questions to get us where we want to go.
Part: Give people a part to play, or better yet, engage them in a dialogue about what their part might be. Address the effects of our activities when you do so.
It’s pretty simple in sequence to use the tools here, but it will take a commitment from you and a little time to gain your fluency with them. Once you do, the tools change how you think, how you manage and how you forge relationships at work!
Want to get a more robust look at these tools for employee engagement? Listen to our free webinar replay.