Five Steps To keep employees engaged in 2019

Let’s table the numbers for a moment and thinks about what it feels like to care about what we do. How does it feel to go to a rock concert when we’re jazz fans? To eat at a restaurant when the food isn’t right? To put on a pair of jeans that just don’t fit like they used to? Going to work and not being engaged can feel uncomfortable, uneasy, and, at times, miserable enough to just leave. And while all want to be a part of something great, sometimes not everyone is feeling like they’re a part of the process, like they've seen, like they’re heard. Consider these five steps to keep employees engaged.

 

1.     Realize that culture lives at the team level

Have you ever heard of micro-cultures? Cultures that vary from team to team? Consider Amazon for a moment: The last-mile delivery people have a different culture than the distribution centre, Amazon Web Services teams, marketing teams, and so on. While they all may share the same mission and vision, employees on each team will live a different life based on the work they do and what they’re expected to do. If we realize that culture lives on the team level, then we can have more autonomy in creating an experience that’s perfect for our teams.

 2.     Give everyone a paintbrush

Since we’re looking at culture on a team level, let’s make sure everyone has a voice. This doesn’t just come from a survey, this comes from actively listening and taking time to hear each other out. Set time aside for the team to come together every two weeks to talk about what is working, what could be improved on, and how people are feeling.

 3.     Break bread together

What we know from the Philadelphia 76’ers is that when we get to know each other better off the court, we play better together on the court. When we break bread together and take the conversation away from what we do while in the office to who we are as people and what we care about outside of work, we build trust and a better understanding of who we are and what perspectives we bring to our teams.

 4.     Build-in breathing room

The numbers are in; we’re spending upwards of 2.6 hours a day on email looking at well over 100 emails a day. This doesn’t include Slack, calls, meetings, and, you know, actual work. Creativity and innovation come when we have time to think. Create pockets of time and space where the calendar is clear and ideally pair it with light movement like a walk. Bonus is sharing that time with someone to brainstorm ideas and solve problems.

 5.     Interact with other teams

Sometimes all it takes to come up with a new idea and feel engaged is to have a fresh perspective. Meeting with people on other teams who might not be stuck in the same rut is key to hearing new ideas and getting those ‘ah-ha’ moments.

Employee engagement isn’t just about ball pits and kegs, nor is it just the layout of the office. Employee engagement comes from allowing people to come to work and do their best because they want to, not because they feel they have to. And in our findings, that often starts with how we build our teams, recognize each other, and create a true sense of belonging and inclusion.

Eric Termuende

Buk Nkosi