Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
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Why Leaders Need to Think Beyond Employee Engagement and Woo Employees Every Day

Employee Engagement is not a program. Employee Engagement is an Outcome.

Once a year, employee engagement is all the rage as companies gear up for the annual employee survey, which often happens right about now. February is also that time of year when red roses sell out and boxes of chocolates abound.

If nothing else, Valentine’s Day is a reminder that everyone needs to feel loved, including your employees. 

That makes this the perfect time of the year to think beyond employee engagement and start wooing workers who are the heart and soul of your business.

Gallup polls keep indicating that the majority of employees report they were “not engaged” at work.

Surely we can do a better job of engaging employees. Here’s how:

Deliver on Sweet Dreams

Sweet dreams can turn into nightmares for workers who feel the luster of their job quickly tarnishing. Ask each of your workers the following question.

“What were your hopes and dreams when you took this job?”

By doing so, you’ll gain insight as to how to best keep each employee engaged.

The mere idea that someone is truly concerned about your welfare is often enough to spark a renewed feeling of mutual admiration. Then be prepared to take action. 

If your employee feels their hopes and dreams are no longer a reality, go the extra step and ask why. Then do what you can to have them fall in love with their job again.

Celebrate your Workers on a Daily Basis

It takes a lot of work to keep a relationship fresh and healthy. What it doesn’t take is a lot of money.

Make it a point every day to re-recruit your employees. Stop by your employee’s desk and thank him or her for a job well done. In doing so, be sure to be specific about what work you’re applauding. This way they will be able to repeat this great feat time and time again.

Those of you with large departments should make it a point to buy a different employee each day a cup of coffee or a tea. If time permits, take a walk with them to your local coffee shop and spend some alone time to hear how they are doing. Be consistent so no one feels left out. It’s time well spent. 

Be Demonstrative with your Appreciation

Engaged workers are those who will go above and beyond the call of duty and expect nothing in return. That’s exactly why you should show some love the moment the feeling strikes. 

For example, suppose you have an employee who volunteered to work the weekend in order to meet a rapidly approaching deadline. You know this employee is a real movie buff.

Instead of simply saying, “Thanks for coming in this weekend,” and walking away, provide this employee with movie passes to the local cinema. If the timing is right, give them the rest of the day off so they can attend a matinee. 

Whatever you do, make it personal.

Giving an employee tickets for tonight’s basketball game may do little to impress them, especially if they aren’t a sports fan or they have a newborn at home that requires a babysitter. In this situation, you (and them) would be better served with a gift certificate to a local restaurant that happens to dish up great meals and delivers!

Listen More than You Speak

How good are your listening skills?

If you’ve ever been in a relationship where the other person does most of the talking, you know what it’s like to never feel heard.

This scenario seems to play out a lot in today’s workplace. The manageroften ends up doing all the talking and the employee does the listening. 

Today’s workers want a voice in how their work gets done. When an employee offers a suggestion, thank them for their idea and then take time to consider their recommendation. If you are unable to implement their idea, let them know why and encourage them to continue to suggest new ways of approaching work.

In meetings, let someone else take the lead. Make it a point to be the last person in the room to speak, so that others feel comfortable sharing their ideas freely. 

Make People Feel Special

In an effort to be fair, many companies treat people the same. While their intentions may be good, the results can quickly shift an engaged workforce to the dark side of employee engagement — a world of disgruntled disengagement. 

Equal isn’t always fair. Think about the superstars in your organization that are doing the lion’s share of the work. Is it fair when they receive the same raise as those who are barely contributing? Should your “A players” be required to work in the office every day, along with everyone else, because you don’t trust your “B” players to perform unless they are closely monitored?

Don’t be afraid to treat your best employees a little differently. Those who perform should be assigned plum projects and be given access to development opportunities. This will help increase employee commitment among those employees you wish to keep.

Wooing employees shouldn’t be an idea that is reserved for special holidays like Valentine’s Day or certain times of the year. By showing your love all year long, it won’t be long before you have engaged the hearts and minds of your people — as well as your customers.

©Matuson Consulting, 2020

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