5 Employee engagement tips (from an employee’s perspective)

One of the biggest keys to building a strong team and getting the most out of your team is through employee engagement. Engaged employees are happier, work harder and help build a healthy culture at your company.

But it all starts with the business owner. No pressure or anything.

So, how do you engage employees?

Since business owners want straight answers and tactics that they can use today, I (an employee) put together a list of my top five employee engagement tips. Here they are:

1. Tap into their brains.

Are you facing a challenge at your company and haven’t quite found a solution for it? Who have you asked — your colleagues, or maybe your peer advisory board, mentors?

But have you asked your employees? Have you asked for their ideas and thoughts on possible solutions? Try holding a brainstorming meeting to discuss the challenge. Giving them a voice in share their ideas let’s them feel heard and a great way to tap into some skills you may not know they have. Studies have shown that 1 in 3 employees feel underutilized at work, which causes disengagement.

Bringing your employees together to work on something can make an impact in your company culture – leaving a feeling that we’re all working together, and collaborative working really lends to employee engagement. Your younger employees will especially appreciate this — Gen Ys love collaborative working and learning.

2. Bring them along to an event or meeting.

Do you have an industry event coming up that you plan to attend? Is your advisory board holding a workshop on accounting practices? Think about taking your bookkeeper along with you. It makes them feel important, and that you’re invested in them as an employee. Or rather, bring them to a meeting you’re having with a colleague about a business problem that you want their input on finding a solution. It makes them feel valued.

3. Have lunch with them.

When’s the last time you’ve had a conversation with your employees about something other than work? Sure, there’s office chatter, but take time to learn more about them not as an employee, but as a person. Do you know what they do outside of the 9-5? Being interested and engaged in them as a person, makes them more engaged as an employee.

4. Give them a book to read.

Occasionally my boss will give me a book that he recommends I read. I really value that. They’re usually business-oriented ones that engage in being a better employee, leader and on more productive working. It also gives us things to talk about.

Here’s a Gen Y tidbit – many young employees feel lost first starting out in the workplace, and books on management, working with other people, are comforting because there’s no syllabus for work life. These books help us better understand work life, work with our colleagues better, learn more about business, and be better employees overall. Knowledge on these things give us confidence that we can take with us in our work. Leaders are readers!

5. Teach them something new.

Training and development are crucial to employee engagement. Have you ever heard of the phrase,”Learn more, earn more, do more”? Younger employees are especially hungry for learning — not just to build their skill set, but to be able to apply them in the work they do at your company. Do you have a plan for training and development for your employees?

If you don’t, maybe start off with paying for them to attend a conference in their industry that they could learn from. Or pay for an online class to teach them a new skill that they could use in their work for you.

To teach on a personal or one-on-one basis, teach them a new trick in Excel, or tell them about a new software tool you think they could value from using to keep organized.

What are some things you do to engage employees? What do you find most effective?

 

Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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