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As a manager, there’s nothing worse than unhappy, disengaged employees. Studies have shown time after time that employees who are less than pleased with their jobs tend to be less productive, late to work and bad for the bottom line.

So, what can businesses do to keep employees happy and profit margins growing?

More and more, studies show that investing in “employee engagement” is vital to an organization’s success. Unlike employee satisfaction – which just means an employee likes his or her job – the term employee engagement takes things up a notch.

Employee engagement means that in addition to liking your job, you also feel emotionally connected to your company’s goals and values. Engaged employees are motivated to show up to work every day and do everything within their power to help their companies succeed.

So, what does employee engagement look like?

It’s not just about salary and compensation. Creating a sense of belonging with each employee requires more than free donuts or interesting work perks, it’s a commitment from the leadership team to focus on the specific and individual needs of every employee.

When working to create a culture that fosters employee engagement, managers and business owners should take into account the following:

  • Inspirational leadership – Engagement starts at the top. Engaged managers tend to create engaged teams.
  • Perceptions of job importance– Studies show that employees who feel their jobs are important are more loyal and customer-service oriented
  • Clarity of job expectations– Employees should have the tools they need to do their jobs and understand their managers’ expectations. If resources aren’t provided and expectations aren’t clear, then boredom or resentment may set in, and they no longer focus on helping the company succeed.
  • Regular feedback and dialogue with superiors– Feedback is the key to giving employees a sense of where they’re going and how they are doing, but many companies struggle with this. Studies have found that employees who feel like their supervisors are supportive are 67% more engaged.
  • Open communication and relationships – Employee communication remains the most essential tool to developing strong working relationships among employees. Companies that offer clear, precise communication can quickly build trust in the workplace.
  • Work/Life balance – Work/Life balance gives employees the tools and encouragement to work more effectively, to take care of their health, improve skills, and work in a way that makes them feel valued.

Creating a culture

Looking for ways to boost employee engagement at your workplace? Here are few ideas:

Assign a buddy/mentor for every newcomer

An important part of the on-boarding process is having someone answer some really important questions. Questions that someone would be hesitant to simply ask a manager. Building a trustworthy relationship with someone with more experience in that company can help guide the newcomer. This way he or she can better adapt and grow part of the team.

Have themed office days

For the more open-minded companies, this initiative can bring a lot of fun and increase employee loyalty.

Have team photos

Have photos of your team on a wall, or frame them around the office. Group photos, funny photos, events photos or random photos snapped when people weren’t watching. It’s a cultural element that can encourage and foster work relationships and employee engagement.

Empower your employees

Nothing creates a greater sense of responsibility and ownership like having the decision power. Don’t be afraid to let people be their own leader. It’s a great way to build trust, as opposed to micro-management.

Encourage learning

Challenge and support employees in learning and developing their skills. Not only will you have a motivated and well-prepared workforce but you’ll see an increase in employee happiness and employee engagement.

Get social

Go out, have fun, have teambuilding events and weekend competitions! Create a softball team or a bowling night.

Encourage Charity

Charitable giving is an opportunity for companies to reinforce their purpose — their greater cause, beyond just products and services — and help employees connect to that purpose.

Encourage volunteering

Give employees the opportunity and motivation to volunteer individually or as part of the team. You’ll be rewarded with: Higher employee engagement and stronger teamwork productivity. Increased pride, commitment, and loyalty among employees for the organization.

Recognize and encourage innovation

You might have heard some pretty inspiring ideas around the office. What about that project that came together so well and had some amazing improvements that no one initially thought of? Find out who came up with that idea. Give them a friendly “Good job!” or recognize them publicly for going the extra mile.

Celebrate achievements

Big or small, they are the solid proof that the work people are putting in has meaning. No one can go through tasks and assignments for months, or even years without burning out. Refill their energy tanks with some recognition and celebrate their hard work. This is also a great way to glue together teams.

The Lee Group provides solutions and assistance with executive searches and also helps job seekers find their next career, placing applicants in positions they feel engaged in. Ask us how.  

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