Essential Elements of Team Engagement
The concept of team engagement has certainly become a hot topic among business owners and operators over the past few years. The fields of sociology, psychology and economics have converged to reveal incredible insights into what makes employees productive, fulfilled and more likely to remain with a given job or company. We can now say conclusively that money is rarely the primary driver when people decide to leave a team. As the economy continues to gain momentum in 2019, this becomes even more important to consider. If your best employees can make comparable money with a competitor, what is it that you can do to foster loyalty and keep them at your company?
- More Measurement
An annual team survey is an important tool that we recommend, but it is far from sufficient by itself. A comprehensive, year-end survey must be augmented with a more frequent gathering of data that measures team satisfaction, performance and concerns. It’s important to know how your team feels about their jobs and company on a Tuesday in February, a Friday in June and a Monday in October. This gives you a much better opportunity to mitigate small issues before they become larger problems. The good news is new technologies are making this data much easier to obtain and analyze. Tools like Slack and SurveyMonkey allow you to conduct polls quickly and anonymously. You could ask just one question at the end of every day, or three questions every Monday morning and every Friday afternoon. While it is important to act on the information you gather, just by putting in place such a program, you begin to demonstrate how important you believe your team is to the success of the business.
- More than Job Satisfaction
Of course, happy employees are more fun to be around and probably more productive. But what we’re really after is employees who feel valued, believe the work they do is important and are motivated to help the company be successful. Invite your team to help you define a company vision. What is your company about, besides just making money? How does each and every person on the team play a role in that vision? Once that vision is clearly defined, you have to continually remind your people how the work they do contributes to these larger goals. If your company is small, this responsibility is yours, as the business owner. As your company grows, you need to include this in the training of your managers and team leaders. Establishing a rational, emotional connection with the work we do is incredibly important. It improves not just performance, but retention and morale.
- Do the Easy Things Now
Building a highly engaged team can certainly seem like a daunting and complicated task. And that’s fair; some of the work is complex and difficult. But much of it is pretty intuitive and easy to remedy. Ensure your team has all the tools they need to perform the job. Fully functioning, up to date technology and software, a work space that is clean and inviting, convenient parking and transportation accommodations, and learning and development resources.
Shortcomings in these areas only breed resentment. Invest in the tools your people use every day. Invest in the physical space they spend 40 hours a week in.
Remember that what motivates you to grow your business is most likely very different from what motivates people to work in your business. So listen mindfully to your team and design a vision, processes and goals that will incentivize them and reward them. Your rewards will flow naturally from theirs.