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Engage Your People by Inspiring Self-development

8 creative ways to engage employees by making their job employee-centric

According to the latest State of Employee Engagement report – a real-time survey of more than 1,000 organizations across more than 150 countries – one of the essential elements of effective employee engagement is personal growth. Your people want to do well, at work and in their personal life.

Managers who enable the process of personal development (and provide opportunities for individuals to progress their careers while maintaining a healthy work/life balance) are more likely to build high-performance teams in which innovation and creativity drive productivity. This article will help you develop creative ways to engage employees in their own personal development, and by connection in helping to achieve the goals of your organization.

1.     Be an inspirational coach, not a controlling manager

Managers have a big impact on staff retention. Dissatisfied employees are more likely to leave, and the root cause of dissatisfaction is often dissatisfaction with the manager.

If you micromanage, controlling every task and decision in daily work, employees cease to act autonomously. Leadership inspires and motivates, helping people achieve their full potential. The best managers embody an influencing leadership style to engage employees, inspiring and motivating instead of controlling. To achieve this, be in control instead of controlling. Help your employees by encouraging, advising, and coaching. Give them tasks that will push them to discover solutions, and not repetitive tasks that simply make them part of a production line.

2.     Be forward in taking a step back

Make it a priority to ask your employees for their advice. After all, you employ them because of their strengths, so you should use those strengths.

Make opportunities in which you take a step back and push your employees forward. This will evidence your trust in them and show that you appreciate them. By offering them such opportunities, they will see their position in a new light, and realize that you are invested in them. The return on that investment is greater engagement, as they take advantage of the opportunity for personal development.

3.     Engage employees with positivity

If you allow it to take hold in the workplace, negativity will pull down performance. The onus here is very much on you as a manager. Here are four creative ways to engage employees in positivity:

       I.          When problems arise, encourage your employees to see them as opportunities by seeing them as such yourself

     II.          Hold team huddles that inspire a positive approach and ask your team members to highlight something good that will come from the day ahead

    III.          Ensure that you are available to act as a guiding force when the going gets tough, while encouraging creative solution finding

    IV.          Make tasks more exciting by giving your employees responsibility for them, from organizing to execution

4.     Encourage open communication to engage employees

It is essential that employees feel at ease with speaking about their issues with you. This starts with you as the manager. By setting the example of transparent communication, you will increase your ability to form transformational interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. The secret to open and honest conversation with colleagues is to improve your emotional intelligence, becoming a better people person as you learn to understand your own strengths and weaknesses and become a better listener. Think creatively to encourage open communication, and:

  • Encourage greater collaboration between employees
  • Hold brainstorming sessions to bounce ideas
  • Ensure that you speak frankly with your employees about their goals

5.     Use feedback as positive reinforcement

When an employee is actively seeking to progress their professional development, help them do so by feeding back positively. Ensure that you let them know how they are progressing, and encourage them by acknowledging their hard work, enthusiasm and effort.

When you encourage an employee on the road to personal development, news will quickly spread among their colleagues. This will foster greater positivity in the team, encouraging others to seek personal development opportunities with you as their coach.

6.     Make it OK to fail

Failure is a step on the road to success. It is a necessary process of learning. If you make employees fearful of failure, you will stifle their personal development. Consider ways in which you can encourage experimentation and creativity by developing safe ways to fail without damaging the organization.

Provide opportunity for failure to become a learning experience, remaining positive in your feedback, and offering coaching to aid improvement.

7.     Help your employees to detach from work

Ensure that your employees benefit from time away from work, finding ways to help each employee achieve the work/life balance that suits them. Creative ways to engage employees in finding their own work/life balance include:

  • Offering flexible working hours
  • Allowing employees to ‘bank overtime’ to take time off work
  • Incentivizing improved performance with personalized rewards

Additionally, in the connected world, make it policy that employees will not be contacted during their downtime.

8.     Go off-site to engage employees

In his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni describes how a new CEO, Catherine Petersen, organizes off-site meetings to help improve personal development and teamwork.

By removing people from their familiar surroundings, you encourage them to communicate more openly and with vulnerability. Given the right guidance, you can help people to overcome their vulnerabilities as they discover more about themselves, their strengths, weakness, and their personal goals. This is one of the most creative ways to engage employees in both their own personal development and to develop a creative team ready to accept the challenge of achieving your future vision.

Do you want your teams to lead high-performing, highly engaged teams?  Contact Forward Focus today to discuss how our Management Development Series could help your managers and leaders become more emotionally intelligent and better influence performance.

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