When I say engagement, I am not referring to that big step prior to marriage. Now that I have disclosed that, I probably just lost a reader or two. Jokes aside, I have been reading some good books lately on topics that relate to workplace environments. I couldn’t help but notice a common trend among the books that grabbed my attention. That trend had to do with employee engagement.
I have been beating my drum about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but much of it all comes down to engagement. I have noticed that successful companies have an engagement strategy that starts at the top and works its way down, which means from the executives down to the entry-level employees. Research suggests that business leaders who engage their employees in a more personal manner, gain trust and loyalty.
What do I mean by a personal manner? It means joining them in the break room for coffee, stopping by their desks for non-work related chit-chat, or inviting them to your office to ask how they are doing, etc. Simple gestures that are genuine have a long-lasting positive effect on employee morale. Yet many business leaders in impactful positions fail to do it. Unfortunately, many workplace environments get tense when the boss comes around, and some employees will even scatter to avoid him or her.
Let’s be honest; there is nothing more annoying in a workplace environment than an intimidating boss. Think about some of your past bosses. Did you laugh at their horrible jokes? Did your stress level increase when he or she was around? Did you panic if they called you into their office? Do you see where I’m going with this?
A big reason many people leave a job they generally like is because they cannot stand their boss. Been there, done that! Some bosses have unreasonable expectations, some are rude, and some rarely show appreciation (some are all three). Regardless, employees are less loyal to a company or may even slack on their work just to spite their boss. It is counterproductive, but it is very ubiquitous.
On the flip side, most employees will climb mountains and run through walls (not literally) for a boss that frequents the frontlines simply to show appreciation. Bear in mind; there is a difference between a boss who trots around acting like the mayor of a small town and a boss who spends quality time with his team. Employees know the difference and are not easily fooled. Shaking a few hands during a brief cameo appearance just isn’t enough.
I know, I know, some bosses are just too busy to mingle, right? Some days, yes! Every day, NO! Like I mentioned in past posts, happy employees will take good care of the customers, which leads to a more profitable bottom line. Leaders who take the time to engage their employees positively help create a happy workplace culture that can impact the entire organization.
If you are a business leader and just happened to read this, I hope you got the point of all of this. Get up, get out, and go spend some time with your employees. Make it a habit, so your employees know that you are authentic. It is imperative that they feel appreciated, wanted, and needed. I know some companies are much larger than others, but when at all possible, get to know them, or some of them, on a first-name basis.
Show them you are a human being, not a number-crunching, fist-pounding robot who only cares about profits. Be the type of leader that makes people want to go the extra mile for you. And be the type of leader who reminds people that they are the most important part of the company. Talk is cheap, leap into action!
Leaders, my call to action: Be it 20 minutes here or 30 minutes there, whatever time you can spare! I challenge you to spend some quality time with your employees a couple of times per week, every week, for the remainder of the year. If you can’t do that, it may be time to analyze your priorities. But if you can pull it off, or at least come close, your actions will become paramount in the grand scheme of things. Good luck; your employees are waiting…
I look forward to becoming a business leader so that I can practice what I preach! Thanks for reading!