Beginning the “engagement process” is much like the courting you do when dating. You’re seeing if you and the other person (in this case, the employee) is a good fit for your company. A strong match is often pretty evident in the interviews you’ll have done before hiring, but starting engagement allows you both to know quickly and confidently, that this was the right hire and acceptance. Being 100% sure this is the right fit is absolutely key if you are trying to bring your company culture to one of Engagement.
That said, what do managers need to know about engagement and what strategies can they use in helping this process of Enterprise Engagement begin? Here are 5 tactics your management can use when onboarding and initiating engagement measures:
- Be Open, Honest and Transparent
You’re expecting the same back from your employee, and a culture that is truly engaged within a company starts with open, honest, transparent communication with your employees from all levels. Of course, doing this with your employees is just a starting point – during Enterprise Engagement, this candor will stretch across the canvas of your company – but it begins with (and is forwarded by) your employees. The earlier they feel this openness and transparency – the sooner they begin to spread it among all those they interact with. Encourage managers to show a human side, to interact and engage with employees and to be transparent with them in communication.
- Be Sure to Listen
Oftentimes, the best ideas don’t come from a select few managers or executives. Listening helps uncover a very wide swath of ideas and instill trust and confidence as well as positivity in the employees being listened to. We’ve seen instances where some of the biggest money savers and efficiency tweaks were forwarded by a group of new hires, seeing something in a way no one else had – or factory workers, who were actually doing the work each day. It is not at all uncommon to find your vendors, your suppliers and others in the community who have great ideas for your company, as well. This is a bonus included when you do Enterprise Engagement – you gain so much more input from valued sources with your success in mind. But you have to learn to listen – and operate from a space of finding value.
- Communicate the Vision
Let’s be honest, most companies have a Mission Statement. Yet, in many cases, even the executives of the company would have a hard time completely articulating it, or how it applies to each action within the company. This isn’t always the case, but is true often. Be sure to not only understand your company mission and be able to communicate it effectively, daily – but also be sure to pass on how each employee, vendor, partner, and others help forward that mission’s goals with their daily activities. Be specific about how this happens for everyone in detail.
- Trust Your Employees and Be Flexible
Trusting an employee to get their work done should not be a problem if you’ve hired the right employee and that employee is focused on the mission at hand. This may not be a freedom given out of the gate, but giving employees the ability to adjust work schedules or locations to meet their lifestyle goals is a key factor to showing trust and fostering even more engagement. Trust your employees to make good decisions on behalf of the company and the customers. Coach them if they make mistakes – but don’t take away your trust in them, or their power to make decisions (unless absolutely needed.) An empowered employee is one of the most powerful types of engaged employees.
- Be Collaborative – At Work, Volunteering and At Play
Building a collaborative environment for your employees to interact, to exchange, to learn and grow from the collective experience and knowledge of their peers – is one of the strongest ways to build an incredible woven web of engagement for your company. Extending this idea into volunteering time outside of work (where you all choose a cause to work on behalf of – together) is another way to deepen the bonds and share responsibilities that go beyond the company’s daily 9-5 mission. From there, play together when you can. Study after study show that workmates who also are friends outside of work and especially those who compete together, are more apt to collaborate in the office. So, while volunteering is good for the soul and exercise is good for the heart – doing these things as a company is great for your efforts and Employee and Enterprise Engagement.