At the core of successful employee engagement is communication. You likely think I mean communication between manager and employee. Your thinking is spot on. The most common reason an employee leaves a job is the employee’s manager. And the most common element is the communication — or lack of — between manager and employee. There are plenty of other aspects of communication and how it can boost employee satisfaction and engagement. But for this writing, let’s look at 3 core “bites” that will have communication contribute to employee engagement.
An employee who knows what is expected experiences less doubt, less confusion. Knowing the weekly report must include narrative as well as statistics precludes the risk of rework. Knowing what to do, the employee expends time and energy engaging in the job, rather than wondering “what?” and “how?” This applies to graphic design, garage mechanics, IT deployment or training & development. Stating expectations to an employee early, frequently and consistently is an art of communication. Remembering to restate frequently is part of that art — either to verify or to vary the expectations.
Most work has some degree of problem-solving. That does not mean we want employees focusing continually on unnecessary problems. Open line communication between employee and manager provides productive Q&A. This allows the manager to help the worker know priorities. This in turn leads to identifying obstacles quickly and easily. That allows fast application of efforts to move obstacles aside. Consider an employee’s inability to access onboarding e-learning. Recollect the glitch in a new procedure that brought it to a standstill. In such instances, communication is step one to remove the obstacle. When communication is fundamental to the business culture, you’ll look for the solution there first.
Offer Feedback and Recognition.
A good idea is to recognize an employee’s successful engagement in her assignments, with her team, and for the company. An equally good idea is to give feedback to the employee whose efforts are less successful. Both actions are communication-based. Both recognition and feedback have positive impact on employee engagement. The manager speaks about what has been done well and why. The employee hears and strives to repeat. That is engagement. A manager speaks about what has been done, could have been done better, and how. The employee hears and strives to improve. The connection between communication and engagement is clear.
Don’t take this as an oversimplification of engagement culture and strategy. Both require substantial attention and effort. Just keep in mind that these steps can get you to the communications core and to better employee engagement.
(About the Author: As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright, has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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