In any organization, the single most valuable resource is easy to identify - the people. Employees, members, management, customers, consultants - whatever they're called, people are the backbone of any successful company.
The reality is, most employees are not highly engaged in their work. This can be hard for some of us to imagine - many of us live and breathe our work, even outside of the office.
Whether that's a good thing or not is a strongly debated topic at current, but definitely, when at work and performing our assigned tasks, we ought to be engaged, right?
Often times, for knowledge workers, this can be a challenge - either due to repetition of work, or any other number of reasons. Regardless of the cause, we've put together a few suggestions on how to keep employees engaged, and how to make sure that it's to the benefit of the organization.
Communicate clear goals and expectations
It is imperative that employees know what their work is actually doing. It can be very easy to lose sight of what is really happening after your step of the work is completed.
Make the overall end-goal known, and create transparency to where every employee fits into the flow of work in the office.
Seeing the end result of hard work can be encouraging as employees attempt to engage in their next task.
Use metrics and facts to understand your employees
The latest iteration of the meta-analysis in Gallup's Q12 further confirmed the well-established connection between employee engagement and key performance outcomes. Outcomes that were deemed most important include:
- customer ratings
- turnover (for high-turnover and low-turnover organizations)
- safety incidents
- shrinkage (theft)
- patient safety incidents
- quality (defects)
Convey this information to your employees, such as when customers are satisfied. Many employers and organizations only want to make employees aware of when customers are dissatisfied or an employee receives a negative review.
Don't just scold. Remember, these employees do have the option of going somewhere else.
Empower employees to do work that matters
Consider the work that your knowledge workers are actually doing - is it worth doing? Is it mindless, or does it require real consideration?
Employees aren't robots, and shouldn't be treated that way. Yes, some tasks that simply need to be accomplished are repetitive and could only be done by a real person.
Is that true of every task performed by every employee? Not likely.
Consider options such as implementing a workflow automation solution to get rid of the mundane "busy work" that drives employees to feel dissatisfied or undervalued at their job.