When taking a leadership role at any organization, implementing a culture of employee engagement should be your initial focus. This is especially important when you consider that only 33 percent of the American workforce is engaged with their work, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report—and your organization is likely no exception.
Luckily, in your position, you’re poised to make the changes needed to get employees engaged, promoting a sense of commitment and excitement about being a part of the company. With a commitment to education, purpose, and better hiring, you can champion effective employee engagement strategies in your new leadership role.
According to Udemy’s 2018 Millennials at Work study, 42 percent of employees said learning and development was the most important benefit when deciding where to work. Training and educating employees is the best way to increase retention and make you look good as a new leader.
The key is getting it right. The same old boring learning program will do anything but engage employees. Avoid this potential setback by implementing a blended learning strategy, which incorporates both online and in-person learning. Lisa Burke, a talent pool development expert, explains in Blended Learning: A Training Strategy That Fosters ROI, why this is so effective:
“Blending online instruction with in-person interaction results in a more dynamic learning experience and helps employees retain the information much faster than if they were presented with solely a two-hour lecture or two-hour WebEx video. The classroom session with in-person discussion and activities serves to solidify information in the learner’s mind since employees will be taking an active and interactive role in the instructional process.”
Blended learning is also easy to implement with any size company. With many online learning options available to businesses, find the best one for your budget, and use in-house experts, like senior employees, to solidify the learning with in-person sessions.
Employees want to feel they have a purpose within the company. So much so, that engagement soars when they feel their work is meaningful and matters, according to the same Gallup workplace report. The report also found that employees who strongly believe that they’re able to link their goals to the organization’s goals are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged, yet only 4 percent of employees feel that connection.
To drive engagement, make this connection clear for every employee by providing regular feedback. Knowing how their work and skills contribute to the overall company success allows employees to see that connection between them and the company. Further, these contributions can be elevated by featuring employee efforts and know-how on social media via the company employee advocacy program.
What’s more, 70 percent of employees want to spend more time with their manager, according to OfficeVibe’s State of Employee Engagement. This relationship can continue to build the connection to purpose and value within the company. As OfficeVibe explains, “Employees want to become closer with their managers because it will make them feel more connected to their organization.”
Making time for feedback allows you to connect face-to-face and make more of that one-on-one time, ensuring your employees feel both engaged and connected to a purpose. This extra time together allows you to continually assess employee goals, keeping them focused on how they’re growing in their career and their company.
One overlooked element of employee engagement is making the right hire. The State of the American Workplace explains, “When employees are a mismatch for their role and organization, they often struggle to succeed or become bored and restless. Their days—even their careers —can feel wasted, along with their sense of purpose. Workers want roles and employers that allow them to make the most of their strengths.”
To avoid a lack of employee engagement in the first place, you must start by hiring the right people for the company and the role. RecruitBox shares five important tips for finding the best candidate, not just the best interviewer—an easy mistake to make:
Make a great first impression as you step into your new role by focusing on engagement and cultivating a team of employees who care about the organization and their jobs. Use these ideas to make that a reality, putting education, purpose, and hiring at the forefront of your goals for the first few months as a leader.
Michelle Brammer is the Director of Marketing at GaggleAMP. Her background includes over 17 years of brand marketing, strategy, analytics, operations, and multi-channel experience, and she’s firmly rooted in client success and engagement. She is passionate about teaching youth about the digital advertising space and perfecting inbound marketing and social media efforts. Michelle’s thoughts on marketing, advertising, and social media have been published on Forbes, Convince & Convert, iMedia Connection, Bulldog Reporter, MediaPost, PRNewswire, and more.
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