Increasing employee engagement is on the minds of many business leaders today. The idea that by getting employees to buy in to the organization is viewed as the “secret sauce” for a successful organization. But what if we turn the tables a little? What if leaders started taking the focus off just business objectives and place a greater emphasis on supporting the professional goals of their people?
“Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture.” – Lydia M. Child
Consider that organizations ask a lot of their people on a day-to-day basis. Employees are continually having to shift priorities between work and personal lives. They are expected to get to work on time, ready to perform, and ready to produce results. In return for their efforts, they earn a salary that is often not what they really want to earn, but as responsible adults they’ve learned to live with what they take home.
Ask any employee what they really want to do for a living, and some will admit that they would like to be doing something different. Some have dreams and aspirations, but very little support from the management team to ever get there. Some have untapped skills and talents. Even in organizations where there is a clear succession planning process, individuals who have potential can get passed over for new tasks and promotions.
So then, true employee engagement starts with recognizing and supporting the growth of each member of the work team. It begins with believing in the individual as part of the whole network of employees. When embraced, this simple concept can help average employees to blossom into high performers, innovators, and powerhouses of inspiration for your entire industry.
How can an organization demonstrate belief in employees?
There are several ways that the leadership can show that they care about employees. Having a genuine belief in the people who make the organization successful starts with small steps.
#1 – Communicate Appreciation
Putting an employee recognition program into place is relatively simple. Give front line managers the guidance and resources that they need to regularly recognize employees for a job well done. Make employee recognition and praise a part of the workplace culture. Connect specific performance to organizational goals, but also to the professional and personal goals of the people who work there.
#2 – Support Professional Development
One of the best investments a company can make is to develop the talents and interests of employees. Host work-related workshops to teach new skills, and create a corporate tuition support for employees who wish to pursue industry certifications and degrees. By doing these things, you are communicating that you believe in your employees.
#3 – Offer Salary Incentives
Give employees the ability to “write” their own salary increases based on their performance and reaching learning milestones. As employees complete certifications, degree, or work training programs, give them the chance to earn more. Increase salaries well in advance of performance reviews, and then use this time to encourage and inspire them to go beyond their goals.
#4 – Celebrate Employees
It’s a great idea to celebrate company achievements, but it’s even more worthwhile to believe in and then celebrate employee successes. When an employee reaches a milestone or completes a goal, take the time to celebrate this in front of his or her peers. Make teams about supporting each other and then rejoicing when someone on that team succeeds.
As the organization shifts to believing in employees, it becomes much easier for employees to believe in the company. Goals become a personal link to the greater good that the organization stands for. Use the above steps to increase belief in your people and they will believe in the company.
Build a culture of learning to keep your employees engaged. This whitepaper will help: Creating a Culture of Learning