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Engage for success: Understanding employment engagement

by James Chapman

Having been in the Finance and Accounting recruitment industry for years with exposure to a multitude of clients we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to employee engagement. Some companies get it, others don’t, but one thing is constant; it’s an ever-changing landscape. 
During the tough times there are threats of redundancies, and through the good times, there’s always another position somewhere else that’s paying more. All of these factors shouldn’t be on your employee’s mind if they’re fully engaged, feel rewarded, refreshed and inspired. To build a team and retain a team effectively, you need to understand and engage your employees properly and this culture needs to filter from the top down. Here a few simple tips that will help engage your employees, shouldn’t break the annual budget and will help retain your best talent. 
Understand your team 
This doesn’t just boil down to knowing who does what and where; who reports to who or even who is performing well, this is understanding what makes people tick. A question that regularly comes up in an interview is “where do you want to be in the next 3-5 years?” but it rarely gets followed up after that! Take an interest, offer support, find out what’s happening in their home life and engage with each member of your team as a person. 
Transparency and Honesty
Nobody likes gossiping and beating about the bush, especially in the workplace. One of the contributing factors to a high level of employee engagement is having a transparent and honest work environment, where employees are able to walk up to you and have a serious discussion about what is bothering them. Another upside to this is that problems are dealt with early on, and serious issues aren’t swept under the carpet.
No one likes to work with micromanagers or always having to check with their supervisors for approval for a solution to any problem, especially tiny ones. Give employees the freedom to make their own decisions and just get back to them to find out the solution they decide on.
Regardless of the industry that you are in, people will always need some inspiration at work. Inspiration does not necessarily mean having Van Gogh style of creativity, it just means being mentally stimulated in the workplace. When your employees have motivation and inspiration at work, they will instinctively find ways to solve a problem on a project or even create a faster way to achieve a task.
This is not just making sure that cake is readily available on birthdays (although it helps), this is about celebrating the small wins that happen during the weekly cycle. Instead of an email, get up and engage with your staff, discuss a job well-done face to face. It’s also worthy to note during busy periods with tight deadlines where your whole team stays behind and works till the early hours of the morning, recognise the sacrifice you’ve all made with a team dinner or activity. Get together and build relationships.  
There are, of course, many other ways to keep you and your team engaged but the underlying factor is to be human, understand your team and engage as much as possible on a personal and professional level. Really understand what people want, not just from the first interview or when they threaten to leave, it’s too late. 

Want to learn how to engage your team for success?

Our [axr] career planning service offers talent assessment and assistance in building individual career development plans for your team to help you understand and build better employee engagement.

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