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 on employee engagement.
Happy, motivated and 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.
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“ work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the company forward.” – Gallup
Your engaged employees are going to be the biggest fans of your brand. These are the people who seemingly naturally share the brand to their own network, whether online or in person. They are excited about what you are doing and they can’t help but share with others about where they work and what they do. Whether this is liking and sharing company blog posts on LinkedIn, or gushing about their team when enjoying a cocktail at happy hour – they love what they do and the company they do it for.
If you are this type of engaged employee, you find yourself both recommending your company as a place to work, and as a product/service within its industry. As a manager, do you want your employees to be advocates of the organization to current and potential clients? Keep working on your overall big picture of employee engagement and this is one of the perks that you will experience with your newly engaged employees. This is how employee engagement leads to customer engagement, which leads to customer retention and eventually growth. People respond to passion and sincerity, and when your employees gush about your company to your clients or their network, people respond positively and it’s priceless.
Engages other employees
Do you encourage other employees to engage? Or have you witnessed this on your team: one employee encouraging another? If you threw a football across a crowded conference room, who on your team would catch the ball, both literally and figuratively? An engaged employee is present and contributing to the conversation, brainstorming and listening well. Conversely, we often only think of those in leadership as being the most engaged, but sometimes those in lesser visible roles are just as engaged but it displays itself differently. You might see them playing the ring toss at the company picnic with one of your kids, or maybe they are the prankster in your office. They might not be the ones doing the most talking at meetings, but they are just as invested in the team, and subtly engaging others. Know how to recognize this in different personalities on your team, and in yourself.
Whether an introvert or extrovert, an engaged employee gets to know people in the office and remembers them. It’s the co-worker who just asked you how your son’s soccer team is doing this season, or the manager who asked you how your last vacation was. Engaged employees remember that you are also a person outside of your job, and follow up and ask questions about your life outside of work when they run into you in the halls.
Committed to company growth
If you want to be seen as an engaged employee, go the extra mile for customer service, and work to build customer loyalty and engagement. An engaged employee steps outside of their comfort zone to drive initiatives forward and is actively invested in the company’s growth.
You can spot this employee who is loyal to the company because they think outside of their own role to the company as a whole. For example, they send you an email letting you know about something they heard in industry news that pertains to your role. They might inform management about some industry buzz that could impact the company. These employees get the big picture and are invested in the company as a whole succeeding, not just their own personal career. They stay up to date with the industry and are interested in growing and learning.
These employees desire to work to make things better in the company, and are willing to go the extra mile to make that happen. What if you’re reading this and realizing that this ISN’T you, but you want it to be? If you don’t find yourself committed to quality in your daily work, ask yourself why. Maybe you need to revisit some of the above mentioned strategies: ask yourself why you came to work for this company in the first place, re-commit to the mission and vision of the company, schedule a one-on-one meeting with your boss to re-access your goals and understand why your role is valuable to the company. This will help you get your head back in the game and into a place where you are re-invested in seeing the company grow.