10 Emotionally Intelligent Ways To Increase Employee EngagementDana Wu
Times have changed and traditional brick and mortar businesses have been forced to adapt, bringing about major changes to how, when and where we work. With the days of “water cooler” chats and group lunches coming to a halt, workplace culture, motivation and productivity are under enormous stress to stay afloat. To combat the difficulties of being apart, digital burnout, and sometimes less than optimal work environments, you need a plan.
In a world where business structures are in a state of constant change and growth, it is important to note that attracting and hiring the best talent to reach your organization’s goals is a two-way street. Talent onboarding, and training and development has to be a reciprocal and empathetic process where employees feel that you value and recognize their investment in your business goals and in turn, have a clear understanding of your investment in their goals too. Fostering this level of mutual trust and respect leads to higher employee engagement, which is one of the most critical aspects in retaining highly-skilled and high-potential employees and leaders.
Motivating a workforce to innovate while ensuring productivity and collaboration is easier said than done but creating an environment and culture that encourages employees to do well in their role, is the first step to a loyal, purpose-driven, and satisfied organization. Giving meaning to work and allowing for autonomy also creates a valuable sense of ownership and helps employees, leaders, and teams grow with your organization instead of growing out. The added benefits of retaining top talent are countless from reduced turnover costs to employee well-being. If your organization is planning for growth, employee engagement is the investment you need to make.
Here are 10 emotionally intelligent ways you can improve the remote work environment for your people by keeping them engaged and motivated.
1 – Set clear expectations. Although remote work provides a lot more flexibility, employees still need defined values, goals and objectives and a clear understanding of what is expected of them in their role, department and the organization as whole. Working towards a widely held set of business goals and values as well as personal objectives and milestones in individual roles gives meaning to the sometimes-mundane tasks it takes to achieve them. Clarity, purpose and vision are the pillars of organizational success and they are keys to motivation at all levels of your business.
2 – Stay connected. We are fortunate enough to have access to a plethora of digital tools and platforms that enable us to work remotely in efficient ways. Effective communication and collaboration through video calls, meetings and instant messaging, have made it possible to work together on the same project at the same time despite being apart. Don’t forget the importance of checking in to see how colleagues are doing both professionally and personally and provide support when and where you can. Don’t forget that the tools that make remote work faster, better and stronger can also be used to develop professional relationships, and a simple “how are you doing?” can make all the difference to the people in your network.
3 – Trust your people. With a change in the routine of everyday work, it is important to uphold an atmosphere of mutual trust within your organization. Keeping the lines of communication open often and early will not only create a more effective workforce, it helps create an environment where people flourish and grow on both an individual and organizational level. You have defined the expectation and vision for success, communicated openly about individual contributions and objectives and developed professional relationships that demonstrate organizational culture and values, now it’s time to trust. Believing in your employee’s ability to follow through aligns culture and practices for your people and fosters mutual respect and trust through accountability effectively eliminating the need for micromanagement.
4 – Manage accomplishments, not activity. Waiting to give feedback on the key project milestones of your employee’s efforts is far more efficient than managing every little task along the way. The specific steps it takes to get there is easily managed and developed by competent members of your team, and furthermore the employees immersed in these tasks have more focus and understanding for the intricacies than you. Developing trust in any employee-leader relationship starts with giving up control of the small stuff to allow employees the freedom, creativity and innovation to successfully reach their goals.
5 – Encourage growth and learning. Creating a culture of learning and development in your organization shows employees that you appreciate their investment in you and in turn are invested in them. When employees are confident in their leadership’s support to learn new skills and grow within their role, it only further motivates them to achieve more. This is a cyclical process of listening to employee needs, understanding and valuing their individual skills and contributions and offering them opportunities to grow through professional development so they will continue to help grow your business.
6 – Give and receive feedback. Giving periodic feedback and checking in with employees is a managerial must-have but it is also an excellent opportunity to receive feedback and give credence to their opinion of your performance. An “open-door” policy for honest and constructive conversation gives employees the ability to develop assertiveness and independence and taking action on their ideas and feedback gives them confidence and trust in you.
7 – Take breaks (and deep breaths). It is hard to separate work stress from home stress when working in your personal space everyday. Remind yourself and your employees that you/they are not on call 24/7 just because you can be reached at all times and are likely nearby your computer outside normal hours. Let your people know that it’s okay – and sometimes much needed – to take breaks from working throughout the day too. Taking a moment away from the screen and standing up from your desk can help provide perspective and clarity when things are busy or overwhelming leading to more efficient work once you return.
8 – Emphasize workplace culture. Accentuating organizational culture motivates employees towards a shared vision and goal through best practices, group norms and values. Giving consistent and thoughtful recognition to those who have accomplished goals shows leadership’s commitment to employees, and meeting with the purpose of transparency and inclusion only further strengthens trust throughout the organization. Encourage employees to do the same for their colleagues and teams whenever possible and watch your company culture flourish.
9 – Encourage volunteering. Looking beyond our own needs and feelings is critical for emotional intelligence at both an individual and organizational level. Working together to achieve socially responsible goals brings about an increase in teamwork, comradery, and togetherness. Promoting the achievement of these goals across all levels is a great way to showcase your organizational empathy and helps you attract and retain employees who want to work for an organization that cares.
10 – Celebrate people. Employees are the driving force behind every successful organization, so don’t forget the human side of your business. Celebrate accomplishments, birthdays, retirements, newcomers, etc. Make their important moments matter to the company and show it through recognition, a kind gesture, or even a small celebration. Not only is this good for morale, but it also helps us remember to relax and enjoy the time we have when working with each other.
At the end of the day, it is of the utmost importance to remember that your colleagues, leaders and employees are all human-beings and individuals with a multitude of perspectives, emotions and stressors. Showing empathy to one another, working together as a team, and understanding that there are bound to be circumstances beyond our personal locus of control are the keys to having an emotionally intelligent organization.
Book a consultation today with one of our Talent Solutions Consultants to learn more about developing and managing talent in the workplace. Our range of Talent assessment tools are ideal for use in coaching, organization and leadership development, selection, and succession planning. Please contact us at [email protected] for any inquiries.