Ten Ways To Engage Employees

A new manager went to work in a department of a retail store that seemed to have lost its way.Sales were down and so were energy levels. Displays were stale, and several areas needed cleaning. Worse, several employees seemed to spend most of their time on cell phones — and the conversations were not about work.

The manager immediately recognized the problem. She had seen it before. About a third of her employees were new, and they were the only ones who accomplished anything. Their expectations were high, and so were their sales.They stayed busy doing worth while tasks even when they did not have customers. More than half of her employees stood around looking bored and tried to appear busy when the boss was nearby.

Finally, another group of employees came in late,left early, took long lunches, avoided helping customers and, as near as the manager could tell, did not make any sales or even try to do so.

She wondered what had happened to make them so disenchanted.

Through research, she found that the most disengaged group of employees included the ones who had been there the longest. Studies bear this out. Look at your own workers and see who is productive and who is not.Likely you will see employees who have been on the job several years, see no change coming and no room to grow. They are not interested in the work, their customers or their colleagues.

Here are 10 strategies you can implement today to re-engage your employees and increase productivity:

  1. Ask employees for suggestions.Let them comment anonymously through a suggestion box. Read employee suggestions regularly, and implement any ideas the company can afford and that actually might work.
  1. Cross-train. This develops the skills of all employees. Disengaged workers may become excited about work again, or they may take their new skills to a job that fits them better.
  1. Find ways to reward employees through recognition. Make this meaningful by adding an extra day off, a gift certificate or another inexpensive gift. It doesn't have to cost a lot to have an impact.
  1. Listen to employees. Have regular feedback meetings if possible, in addition to the suggestion box. Again,use as many ideas as are possible,especially when they are easy and free.
  2. Seek out workers who will motivate others via their job knowledge,enthusiasm or both.
  3. Give workers the freedom of making their own decisions, especially when dealing with customers.
  4. Present company challenges publicly when possible.Let employees help solve them. Adversity can draw a group together.
  5. Give employees the resources they need to do their jobs.
  6. Make sure your managers are engaged. If they are not, they will not engage others.
  7. Provide all employees regular feedback about their job performance.

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