All business owners want to improve their company’s performance, but the implication always seems to be that achieving this costs money. In fact, a simple and free way to increase company performance is just to get your employees more involved. In my experience, there are three basic steps to increase employee engagement and thus get the company running even better.
If you want to engage a person, any person, whether they are your employee or not, the first and most important ingredient is to care. That means giving the person your full attention when they are speaking, respecting them for their differences, and actually caring about who it is they are as a person. It doesn’t mean you have to go really deep with them and get involved with all of their personal struggles, but maybe make yourself aware of them. If you sense they are struggling with a particular issue, consider that the person is likely dealing with a multitude of issues life has presented them. Your caring and compassion will go a long way when building rapport and engagement.
Finally, listen to your employees and enact changes based on their feedback. Implementing a continuous improvement perspective to performance management will also aid in increased engagement and business performance. If an employee tells me they are struggling with a particular roadblock, my job as their manager is to remove that barrier, or show them a way around it. Inherent to many business processes are old and outdated practices that are no longer necessary. These things work to frustrate employees and stunt company growth. You need to listen to your employees in order to identify these roadblocks. You may not be able to enact all the changes your employees suggest, but by just listening to their concerns and adopting changes you can help reduce friction in their workplace. Weekly staff meetings and one-on-ones are simple but helpful ways to accomplish this. When employees feel engaged, they care. They care about your business and want to help you and your organization reach its ultimate goals.