4 Drivers for Employee Engagement

It may seem obvious that the lack of true employee engagement directly affects an employer’s ability to retain its workforce. However, people tend to confuse employee engagement with employee satisfaction. Employee engagement means that employees feel emotionally committed to their organizations and have the drive to always put forth more discretionary effort as a result of their commitment.

A Deloitte study found something that’s not surprising – engaged employees are more likely to stay at their jobs, which leads to direct profitability for the company. So how do you ensure your employees stay engaged? Here are four key ways.

On-going, consistent communication. Real-time, immediate feedback is the most conducive for quick behavior change, and feedback should happen as quickly as possible. Conversations with employees who are not meeting expectations should never go unaddressed for long, though it might be tempting to push the conversation off. For an industry like the home health industry, where a large number of employees/caregivers are de-centralized because they are in the field seeing patients, regular feedback becomes even more paramount to mitigate miscommunication and maintain connections.

An organization can benefit from internal newsletters, informal huddles, monthly staff meetings and clearly defined social media strategies, which help to keep everyone informed without having to play the telephone game.

Communicating about the good is just as important. Employees that are high-performers deserve real-time recognition, too. Which ties in with the next driver.

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Consistently reward and recognize individuals. Managers need to reward and recognize employees in ways that are specific to the individual and consistent with their desired career path and journey. For example, when recognizing an employee, it’s helpful to keep in mind if they are an introvert or an extrovert – an introvert may find it mortifying to be recognized in a public manner. This type of introverted employee may appreciate a one-on-one interaction instead when being rewarded. You want recognition to have the desired effect, which is letting employees know how much they are appreciated.

Have the confidence to have difficult conversations. It starts by being a situational leader and being able to adapt to your employees. Knowing what kind of leader you are – democratic, authoritative, or participative – will help you recognize how your style meshes with those you are managing and when and how you need to change your leadership style based on the situation. Set mutual goals and expectations together, and make sure objectives are measurable. Maintain confidentiality and trust with your employees. As a manager, give specific examples of what happened that didn’t meet expectations and the ensuing results. Ask employees what you can do better as a manager, as all relationships are a two-way street.

Make sure employees are not only in the right bus, but in the right seat. All employees need to understand where they fit into the bigger picture of an organization to feel more invested. No matter the size of the organization, playing to employees’ strengths and making sure they’re in the right roles will lead to greater overall success. In addition, managers should understand employees’ career path goals, mentorship needs, and skill gaps. It’s important to remember that employees don’t leave organizations, employees leave managers.

I truly believe an organization’s employees are its greatest assets. The bottom line? Your people always come first. In order for any company to retain its workforce and thrive, a culture where employee engagement is paramount must be deployed and cultivated.

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Sonya Hinds

Sonya Hinds
Sonya Hinds is SVP of HR, training and information technology for Interim HealthCare Inc.

Sonya Hinds

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