HR Forum

Engage your staff to do better

THE workforce is changing rapidly, with baby boomers rapidly retiring and being replaced by younger workers. Many business owners and managers fail to recognise that improving the conditions within their teams is one of the best chances they have of retaining staff, improving the teamsí performance and, in turn, the companyís profit.

Engaging team members, creating an environment where they are appreciated and given recognition for their efforts and providing a pleasant and efficient work environment give people a reason to come to work.

Employees should wake up on Monday mornings and say: ďFan≠tas≠tic, itís Monday, Iím going to work today!Ē If that sounds ridiculous, ask yourself what you are doing to become an employer of choice and engage your team members? If people are engaged at work, they work harder, produce more, have fewer sick days and have good old-fashioned fun.

Research by The Gallup Organisation shows that less than 20% of employees are engaged, 62% are not engaged and the remaining 18% are totally disengaged from their organisations. These figures reflect a worldwide trend.

This research further reveals that engaged team members are more likely to be loyal to their team, be more productive, and have less stress and higher safety statistics than team members who are not engaged. Not only that, customer loyalty is directly linked and rises along with the team memberís loyalty.

Team members feel engaged if their team leader or manager takes the time to develop their strengths, understand the areas which will improve with development and recognise that each member of the team is unique.

Organisations, small and large, can take simple steps to engage their employees.

Some organisations use profiling tools to better understand the preferences of their staff. One that is simple to use and easy to understand is the Team Management Profile.

This profile will give you a better understanding of staff preferences in the workplace. This information can then be used to better communicate with your staff, allocate work and even as a tool to form project teams for short-term projects. By understanding your staff better, you can give them work which is challenging and allows them to learn and grow.

The detailed 4,000-word report identifies peopleís preferences in the type of work they prefer to do and also supplies information around the following four dimensions:

The way people relate to others at work;

1. How people gather and use information;

2. How people make decisions; and

3. How people organise themselves and others.

Taking the time to understand your people, identifying areas for development and engaging the services of external organisations to provide team-building and skills training measurably increase engagement.

The office environment at work can also have an impact on staff. One city firm has taken advantage of the structure of its premises. The office is wrapped around an internal atrium that allows access to a garden area. This area has become the central gathering place for staff social functions and boasts a gas barbecue, a bar fridge that would rival most pubs and outdoor furniture to finish off the picture.

Managers encourage staff to gather there to relax and share what has happened over the previous month. It is a great place to let off steam and to build a great team atmosphere. This is one of the ways to show your staff that you value their contribution.

Engaging your team members can be as simple as asking the following questions:

  • Do your people know or understand what you expect from them at work?
  • Do they have the resources they need to do their jobs properly?
  • Do you give praise when you notice someone doing a great job?
  • Do you have a professional development programme in place for every staff member?
  • Do you sit down and talk with your staff about their work and their progress in the team?
  • Do your staff members know what your vision is for the team and for them as individuals?
  • Do your staff members look forward to coming to work to do their best in the team?

If you donít know the answer to these questions, you had better start talking to your people.

Communicate as frequently as you can with the people in your team. A healthy mix of all options including e-mail, written memos, team meetings and an old-fashioned chat over coffee will take employee engagement a long way. - Source: ST/ANN

Article by Lindsay Adams, an international speaker with Training Edge International and president of Global Speakers Federation.