While interviewing for a position, companies will do everything necessary to engage their preferred candidates.
However, once candidates have been hired and settled into their new roles, it is common for employers to stop making the extra effort to engage with them. Does this have a detrimental effect on businesses – and do we need to do more to follow up with new employees after they have joined?
Let’s start with what employee engagement really means. A common misconception is that engagement is the same as happiness or satisfaction. However, a happy employee is not necessarily a productive one, and ‘satisfaction’ is subjective. For example, a satisfied or content employee may come to work on time every day and do what is required of them – but will they burn the midnight oil when needed, mentor new hires, or stretch themselves over additional responsibilities or projects to meet deadlines? Feeling satisfied may also not be enough to retain employees if they are offered better salaries or benefits packages elsewhere. This is a loss that can have multiple detrimental effects on your team and projects.
Engaged employees are committed to the company, and its vision, mission, and goals – both long- and short-term ones. They see value in the company’s proposition and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure the company succeeds. They can be counted on to stay late, pitch in, and do whatever it takes to deliver. This leads to tangible benefits to the employer, including increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction, and high-quality output. It may even improve your chances of gaining repeat business.
This engagement is not achieved overnight, and it might surprise you to learn that financial rewards are not as high on the list of effective tools as you may think. Employees want to be paid fairly and in line with market norms, but engagement depends on the intangibles, such as feeling like you are part of a great team and are being given credit for a job well done. Managers looking to improve engagement should focus on five steps.
Firstly, set and communicate a clear company vision. A company’s vision tells everyone what, why, and how it does business. A clear vision can help employees remain focused, and a poor one can leave staff confused and unsure. Also, be supportive of your employees. Check in frequently with your staff and ensure that department heads do the same. Employees need to feel that they have all the required tools and support to do their jobs well. If they feel left out in the cold, then engagement levels are sure to drop.
Offer coaching, training and development. Employees want to know when they have done a good job, what they could do better next time, and how they can improve performance. By equipping employees with all the training and feedback they need, companies set them up to be engaged and productive in the workplace. Moreover, it is essential that you create a culture of trust and respect. Encourage an environment in which it is acceptable to make mistakes. Managers should also not be afraid to admit when they have made a mistake – treat everyone fairly and equally and demand that everyone treats their colleagues with respect. Remember that the vast majority of us are merely visitors here in the Middle East, no matter how long we have been away from home.
Finally, communicate with your staff. This can take many forms, including meetings, memos, and newsletters. The important thing is for communication to be frequent. It allows for the sharing of goals, and fosters a sense of community. Employees who feel part of the group and involved are more likely to be loyal.
Achieving high levels of engagement within a company takes effort and persistence, but the benefits of having an engaged, loyal, and proactive team far outweigh any inconvenience or expense. It’s not just about getting the best from your staff, it’s about how they treat you.