Five ways to enhance employee engagement

The biggest challenged faced by business owners, big or small, is not only the dwindling currency, the economic climate or stock prices,

it is and always will be the human component of each and every business. To meet targets, maintain good client relationships and run a tight ship it is imperative that all team members are actively rowing in the same direction.

According to an insightful international survey done by the Gallup. Inc. a USA research based, management consultancy, South Africa’s work force is divided into 9% actively engaged paddlers, 46% disengaged passengers, 45% actively disengaged plungers. The survey uncovered the main causes of disengagement to be as a direct result of poor management. Lack of trust in management is the number one cause for employee disengagement.

Further investigation showed that trust is built by management, through:

1. Caring
2. Integrity
3. Competency

Five MUST DO actions that can be taken by management to increase employee engagement:

1. Hire for attitude and aptitude: The employee playing field has become a complex mine field for business owners. It is really difficult to get rid of under-performers and never an enjoyable task. The best you can do is to invest more time, more effort and more resources in the hiring process to, as far as possible ensuring that you employee the best candidate for the job. This starts by defining what ‘the best’ is for you. The latest catch phrase is ‘hire for attitude and train for skills.’ This of course stems from the fact that someone with a positive attitude is more teachable than a person who is insecure and negative. It is tough identifying this in the interviewing process where everyone puts their best foot forwards. Neither attitude nor aptitude are enough anymore. Engaged employees are required to have ample of both if they are going to contribute significantly to helping you build momentum and grow the company. Using tools such as Thomas International or the DISC profile can assist you in making better decisions about the people you hire. Remember this falls within the scope of management and requires your full engagement for the best results.

2. Clear corporate will provide employees with direction and make it easier to identify priorities. Confusing goals and overloading employees with tasks and information will quickly demotivate them and cause them to look busy without being particularly productive. Annual, monthly, weekly and daily goals should be filtered down from management, to departments and then to individuals. It is vital that every person, right down to the cleaner understands how his or her role directly impact the goals of the company.

3. Speak their motivation language: Everyone has their own set of intrinsic motivators. These are the things they value highly and are willing to get out of bed for each morning. Manager’s often make the mistake of thinking that everyone is there to earn a salary and benefits. The Y generation expect much more from a job than a salary and perks. More and more people are understanding their own needs and have more choices available to them. Understanding your people’s intrinsic motivators: Pride, Profit, Protection and Pleasure will help you show you care in a relevant way.

4. Accountability and responsibility integrity: Whilst goals are paramount, goals without deadlines and accountability simply become wishes. To grow an engaged team with a track record of integrity, each person from top to bottom needs to become accountable for their commitments. Regular meetings can prevent avoidance of accountability. A culture of accountability will ensure rapid progress.

5. Invest in their personal growth: When times are tough companies often cut back on marketing and training. This is the time everyone should be doubling on these two vital elements to keeping morale high and engagement stimulated. Nothing is more energising for an individual or a team as someone returning from a course, workshop or conference which they found inspiring. New information, new relationships and personal growth creates an upward spiral of energy and is contagious.


Here are three BONUS tips that will also make a difference:

Bonus tip 1:

Have regular one-on-one meetings with your people. Don’t allow this to become an opportunity to complain but rather take a solution oriented approach asking them to bring three solutions for each challenge they are encountering. This will show you care but also make them accountable and engaged.

Bonus tip 2:

Expect people to rise above the potential they perceive for themselves. Ask them to do a personal SWOT analysis. Ask them which areas they would like to improve and develop in and then help them set SMARTIE. Keep them accountable and expect them to achieve these within a certain time period. This can go hand in hand with performance bonuses or other relevant incentives.

Bonus tip 3:

Catch people doing things right. By focussing on the positive most people are encouraged to do even better. Be over generous with acknowledgement, thank people and publically praise people for taking initiative or going the extra mile.

Mel Tomlinson is the CEO of The Performance Booster Program.

Read Previous

South African employees and wearable devices in the workplace

Read Next