20 practical hints and tips on how to engage employees more fully by becoming a more engaging manager. Topics include welcoming new employees, focusing and supporting employees, coaching and developing employees, handling feedback from employees, recognising employee performance and improving your performance as a manager.
1. Welcome new employees
Send new employees a welcome pack containing a letter from you welcoming them, introductory information about the business including brochure or other marketing materials, your strategic narrative, any sports or social clubs or any other workplace benefits. Include specific information about their role, including their job description, an organisation chart, any material about the team they will join and logistical information, for example location maps, canteen information.
2. Get to know individual employees
If a manager knows and understands an employee as an individual they will be able to better motivate them. This could be done through making time for informal discussions outside work discussions e.g. catch-ups over coffee or at social events and regularly visiting or holding conference calls with any employees based in different locations or satellite sites. By making sure you are in contact they will know they are involved and supported.
3. Communicate with employees
Managers need to communicate with employees and give them the chance to share their views and to contribute to defining the business’ goals. You could consider holding regular business update meetings with a set date, time, location and agenda to brief employees on business developments, answer their questions and discuss team objectives and activities. Hold regular team Q&A sessions during which employees can come and talk to you about any issues or ideas e.g. at lunchtime discussions or surgery sessions.
4. Focus and support employees
The way managers shape the roles of employees and oversee their work has a huge effect on individual well-being, commitment and performance. To help support employees you could consider discussing job design and responsibilities with employees – employees who have input into shaping their work are far more engaged than those who are simply given tasks to get on with. Create compelling objectives linked to business goals so employees understand how their work and performance directly contribute to the strategy.
5. Coach and develop employees
Managers need to help employees identify solutions to issues they encounter so they keep developing their clear skills and confidence and have clear development paths.
Create personal development plans for each team member. Make sure these plans have clear links with individual roles, team activities and corporate goals. Give employees the opportunity to try new areas of work and develop new skills in line with this plan. Open discussions about goals and encourage team members to be open about their ambitions. By doing so you can help them feel their ambitions are compatible with the business.
6. Handle feedback from employees
Respond to feedback received by acknowledging suggestions or concerns, explaining your view – whether you agree or not – and involving employees in developing actions to address emerging issues. Talk to individual employees on a regular basis to check their understanding of objectives or key issues and invite them to raise any questions or concerns they haven’t discussed. Respond regularly and honestly to employee feedback, taking action on issues identified and sharing the steps you are taking so that employees know that their voices are heard.
7. Recognise employee performance
To help motivate employees you need to show genuine appreciation for good work and recognise the improvements they make. Here are some steps you could take:
- say thank you: it is a powerful way of recognising someone’s contribution.
- use internal publications, a note around the team or a poster to celebrate an individual’s success and to show employees their commitment and effort are appreciated.
- If you have an intranet create a bulletin board or forum so employees can thank colleagues for their efforts and help with key issues.
- give spot rewards for specific contributions or tasks where employees have exceeded all expectations.
- establish an award scheme so employees can nominate colleagues for their work.
- host social events when you achieve key milestones or targets to thanks your team for their work.
- hold celebrations for employee’s personal milestones or significant life events.
8. Improve your performance as a manager
Engaging managers keep improving their own performance by seeking views and feedback from the people they work with. Ask your team members for their views on your management style and effectiveness e.g. ensure evaluation forms or cards are always available after any briefings or presentations you have given. Approach your own manager. Managers should proactively ask their manager for feedback against their objectives. You could also use 360 degree feedback approach so that formal reviews include feedback from team members.
9. Engage employees more fully – Joint Problem Solving
Regularly asking team members “what do you think?” to draw solutions out of them rather than solving problems for team; engaging people’s brains, not doing their thinking for them. This activity will create a greater feeling of involvement in deciding what should be done, first in the employee’s own job and second with respect to larger strategic issues facing the manager. The aim of asking employees for input is to foster greater shared ownership rather than simply directing them.
10. Engage employees more fully – Participative planning
Involving team members in operational, strategic and change planning. Fostering shared ownership rather than doing their own planning and viewing team members as just implementers. This activity will create a greater feeling of involvement in deciding what should be done, first in the employees own job and second with respect to larger strategic issues facing the manager. The aim of asking employees for input is to foster greater shared ownership rather than simply directing them.
11. Engage employees more fully – Managing people
Showing that they value team member contributions; celebrating success, providing regular feedback, inspiring and empowering team members. Managers must reach out to employees to foster a sense of belongingness and a feeling that there is a future for them in the organisation. These actions create a culture where employees feel valued.
Communicating openly, fully and regularly to keep team members informed so they have a sense of purpose and show initiative with confidence. Managers must reach out to employees to foster a sense of belonging and feeling that there is a future for them in the organisation. These actions create a culture where employees feel valued.
13. Developing People
Proactively developing, encouraging and coaching team members to make them feel valued and important to the team’s success. Managers must reach out to employees to foster a sense of belonging and feeling that there is a future for them in the organisation. These actions create a culture where employees feel valued.
14. Engage employees more fully – Approachability & Fairness
Being approachable, open to challenges, putting team members at ease and treating them fairly to help them feel confident and valued. Providing a safe environment where employees feel free to express themselves in the knowledge that managers are not going to jump on them, treat them unfairly or over react emotionally when their views are challenged.
15. Engage employees more fully – Relationship Building
Fostering teamwork and supportive relationships, helping team members get to know each other and connecting them with valuable colleagues; cultivating a sense of belonging and self-worth. Managers must reach out to employees to foster a sense of belonging and a feeling that there is a future for them in the organisation. These actions create a culture where employees feel valued.
16. Engage employees more fully – Morale & Resilience
Maintaining morale and resilience under pressure, helping to relieve stress in their teams while maintaining a positive outlook despite setbacks and obstacles; so team members feel positive about coming to work and doing their best. Providing a safe environment where employees feel free to express themselves in the knowledge that managers are not going to jump on them, treat them unfairly or over react emotionally when their views are challenged.
17. Make yourself accessible to the front line
Make sure you have the support to be able to reply promptly and authoritatively.
18. Engaging managers employee survey
There is no set format for an employee survey. This guidance sets out best practice examples for creating an employee survey that you can tailor to suit your business needs.
19. Everyday coaching and informal opportunities
Encourage team members to discuss challenges they encounter so you can help them understand the issues and decide on a course of action. Create on-the-job development opportunities e.g. shadowing employees in different roles or working alongside colleagues in other teams. This can help people understand more about those roles and improve their interaction.
20. Mentors or personal managers
Give employees career mentors to help share experiences and encourage their development – this could be someone who joined in the same position a few years ago. You could also consider introducing a personal management system to provide care and support.