Top 10 Ways Managers Can Engage Employees

An engaged workforce doesn’t occur by accident.  It requires a lot of work and a lot of attention.  At the end of the day, it’s the front-line managers who can make the biggest difference in spreading the passion and enthusiasm required for engagement.  What follows after the jump are the 10 best ways managers can ensure that they’re doing their part to achieve the ideal conditions suitable for an engaged workforce.

1. Rest, reflect, and recharge. Before you can help your team become engaged, you must be engaged yourself.  And if you’re overwhelmed, exhausted, or nearing burn out, you won’t be engaged.   3d man holding up roof of house
2. Make engageability a key competency when making hiring decisions. Don’t set your team up for failure by selecting candidates who won’t hit the ground running with a positive and enthusiastic attitude, who are most likely to become enthusiastic employees. 
3. Credibility is key.  Earn credibility by keeping your word.  Be honest in your words and your actions.  Don’t take credit for others’ work.
4.  Understand the big picture.  Make sure that you communicate the company’s message as it has been communicated to you from senior management.  Integrate the message in everyday tasks. 
5.  Enable employees by giving them the discretion to make decisions where appropriate.  This does not mean that you should create a Marxist society.  It means that employees can be engaged only if they feel they have some ownership in their own success. 
6. Give feedback.  Give more feedback.
7. Have a presence in the workplace–a physical presence.  Managers who exist only in e-mail can’t engage anything that doesn’t live in cyberspace.
8. Keep tabs on your employees’ skills.  Find out about their talents and the talents they wish they had.  Then assign projects based on those skills and talents.  And, remember, skills and talents should be developing and that means you need to continue to keep those tabs. 
9. Eliminate jerks from the workplace.  Don’t be held hostage by bullies that work for you.  This is not kindergarten and you’re not on the playground.  This is real life and you’re the one in charge.  All of the rest of the team is counting on you to stand up for them.
10.  Get to know your team members on a personal level.   You need not become their friend but you need to know what makes them tick.  It’s difficult to reward someone unless you know what they value and what’s important to them.  For example, an employee who values quality time with his family first and foremost may not feel so warmly about being “rewarded” with a weekend ski trip with coworkers. 
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