Employee engagement isn’t a trend or a fad. There’s a direct correlation between engagement and productivity and, in turn, an organization’s success. Just to get our numbers straight, according to the Bureau of National Affairs, US businesses lose approximately $11 billion each year because of employee turnover. We’re not even delving into the costs of an ineffective or disengaged employee has on a business.
Employee engagement needs to be a strategic part of your organization. And number three on the list of things that matter most to employees, according to the Job Satisfaction Index from the Happiness Research Institute, is influence. Influence “happens in four dimensions: Tasks (what you do), time (when you do it), team (who you do it with and technique (how you do it).” Job Satisfaction Index, 2015 (Krifa, The Happiness Institute, and TNS Gallup) Influence can also be considered employee autonomy and empowerment.
We’ve already discussed how ineffective micromanaging is. A critical skill a manager must have, though, is take company goals and align them with her division and employees, all the while motivating her employees to reach for the stars. That’s not too much to ask.
Here are five tips to help develop employee influence and empower your employees.
1. Create organizational goals together: Or, determine the stepping stones with your team to reach organizational goals. In some companies, this is possible. Employees can have a direct say in how an organization needs to reach set goals. Having employees be part of the decision-making process is the pinnacle of employee influence.
2. Explain why the goal has value: If the goal is set, it’s not enough to tell an employee what to do. Instead, explain why what your employee is doing is valuable toward reaching organization goals. Don’t assume they already know. This goes for every employee.
3. How will you get there? Giving employees freedom to choose how they want to reach their goals is a great way to help them boost influence in the company. This gives them creative freedom, and it allows them to work with their best skill sets and shine.
4. Flex time and Work-Home Balance: Because we’ve gone digital, we’re able to work from … anywhere. This may have its never-turned-off downside, but it also has a positive side. Giving employees wiggle room on where they work can foster creativity and empowerment. By supporting employees in their personal life and goals, whether it be giving time to go to a kid’s soccer game or taking night classes, you’re also giving them an opportunity to grow with the company. Flex scheduling is feasible.
5. Feedback: If your employees are left without North, they can get lost in all the work and expectation. Take time to sit with your employees and discuss what they’re doing, where they might feel stuck, and what they need. Don’t assume they’ll tell you. You need to be available and ask.
It’s time to step back, set your expectations high, and let your employees soar. Employee influence is key component of engagement. You have the unique opportunity to help employees grow and reach their potential.
Other articles consulted:
Heidi Grant Halvorson, How to Give Employees a Sense of Autonomy, forbes.com, September 15, 2011
Entrepreneurs Organization, Empowered Employees: Five Tips for Giving Your Staff a Sense of Purpose, forbes.com, APR 8, 2014