As a leader you motivate employees and encourage engagement when you as an individual create Credibility and Confidence about yourself and about the organization. People want to work for an organization that they are proud of and when they have a boss they feel good about and trust. If you or the organization is not credible to employees and do not create an environment in which they are confident that you or the organization will make good decisions and will be trustworthy, then that negative perception about you or the organization fosters negative opinion and lower engagement.
Managing with limited resources
So, all the approaches we mention in the previous section are great, but what are you to do when your budget is tight? Regardless of your budget and current economic situation, you do not want to overlook recognizing and motivating your employees to keep them engaged and to keep them feeling valued by you and the organization. Your employees, just like you, want to be rewarded, promoted and recognized. They will become less engaged, and further, may look for other employment if they feel they are not valued by you. Rewarding and recognizing your employees does not always require money. Remember your good communication skills! If you verbally recognize the good work of your employees to show your appreciation for their efforts and to show they are a valued part of the team, this will make them feel valued. Thank and recognize them in front of others also if possible. This communicates to them that not only do you value them, but that you want others in the organization to know that they are valued by you, too. Have lunch with your employees or have periodic social activities after work or on the weekend. Remember, you want your group to connect well and to feel cared about. You could even just bring pastries and coffee to the office occasionally.
If your budget is such that you cannot give raises or bonuses, consider other things that your employees value that may not be costly. How flexible are you with them? Would they appreciate some flex time at work? Can you allow them any additional paid vacation days? Even the very small things that you can do as a manager to thank your employees and indicate their importance to you and your team will make a difference.
Manager drive employee engagement
As a manager, you are the leader of your group, and your group will be a direct reflection of you — your attitude, your behavior, how your treat, communicate with and make other people feel. If you seldom interact with your employees, seldom thank them or recognize good work, or even worse only recognize the accomplishments of some of your employees while brushing off those of others, you are destroying motivation and engagement of some or all members of your organization. If you want to develop a culture and environment of motivation and engagement in your group and organization, then you must be the leader, set the example by doing, and create and nurture this culture of motivation and engagement. Provide encouragement to people when they are stressed, disappointed, unhappy, sad or angry. Sometimes all you even have to do is just take the time to listen to them and this is enough to help them feel better.
Involve others in decisions, ask for their input and seek their ideas — they will feel valued. Recognize good work and fairly reward and recognize achievements; people will feel that they do matter. Praise and thank people for their work; make them feel appreciated and valued. Encourage professional development opportunities. Provide negative feedback in a positive manner and provide it privately rather than publicly. As the manager, everything you do has the potential to either motivate and engage your team or demotivate them. Think carefully about this and your approach to opportunities and problems.
Your employees can be mini-yous, so pay attention to who you are. Dale Carnegie says, “Act enthusiastic, and you will be enthusiastic.” This is true in the classroom, the board room, and in your feed and grain business. If you want to foster a positive environment of motivation and engagement, then be positive, be motivating, be engaging!
Ed. Note: If you would like an additional resource on creating and supporting employee engagement, then “12: The Elements of Great Managing” by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter may be a book for you to consider.