Are you an engaged employee? Or are the employees you have hired and lead engaged? Are you, as a leader, engaged in your organization? From any angle, you can tell the difference between someone who is engaged, and someone who is “checked out” when you look through this list of what makes up an engaged employee.
BONUS: Take the quiz at the end of this blog post to see how you rank today.
HAPPY, MOTIVATED & EQUIPPED
An engaged employee feels like their work is important to the company, and is proud of their contributions. You’ve seen this person greet you in the hallway with a big grin, and have heard them laughing all the way from your desk. Everybody has hard days at work, but in general an engaged employee enjoys what they do, and shows up each day with the intention of doing it well. This person is someone in your office who you see as energetic and optimistic. Want your employees to feel this way? Remind yourself to regularly dish out praise and recognition. Employees who are regularly encouraged that they are on track and doing well show increased engagement in their day to day duties. Haven’t heard from your boss in a while? Schedule a one-on-one meeting to ask how you are doing, and how you can improve. Inviting feedback in this setting shows them that you care about what you are doing for the organization, and are intentional about growing in your role. An added bonus is that you will be first in your boss’s mind when they are thinking of their top contributors in the future.
This sounds simplistic, but are your employees equipped to do their job? It’s true that their basic needs like a laptop, cell phone, a space to work, and other tools they need to succeed in their role should be a provided and accessible to them. However, while it’s true that you do need to equip them in a tangible way, you also need to equip them in their skillset. Do you provide opportunities for growth and continued learning? Do you invest in teaching them management skills so that they can grow into a leadership role in the future? In addition, you should communicate clearly and regularly the company’s goals, mission and vision so that they can help you succeed at them. Sounds too simple? You’d be surprised at how many companies don’t do this, and how many employees are underperforming for lack of clear communication of the company’s goals, and absent investment in their growth. Set a reminder on your calendar once a year to review these with your team. These meetings will also remind an employee of what is expected of them in their day-to-day work, and it sets them up to be able to accomplish clear goals for both of you. This communication effort is a win-win.
An engaged employee that seeks out growth in their career will enjoy taking on new projects and initiatives to stretch their wings a bit, but they also know how to balance that by working on projects that play to their strengths. Everyone enjoys accomplishing a task when they know they can knock it out of the park. Are you providing your employees with projects that play to their strengths? As an employee, do you balance out your challenging work with tasks that let your strengths shine? If you are the type of personality that is motivated by trying new things, take stock every once in a while that you are also taking part in projects that let you easily shine. When a new initiative doesn’t go exactly as planned, you will still have work to lean on that shows that you are valuable to the organization and have projects that are succeeding for them.
Do you want to be seen as an engaged employee? When the company offers opportunities to learn and grow, take them up on it. Continued learning in your field shows that you enjoy what you do and continually want to do better at it, and that you’re in it for the long haul. This type of long term vision will naturally kick you in the butt to be more engaged as you start to see yourself a part of the company’s long term timeline. It will also allow your team to start to see you as a leader in the industry you are working in.