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Employee Engagement Is About Building Trust

Employee Engagement Is About Building Trust

Employee Engagement Is About Building Trust

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

With the advent of modern communication technology, there has been a significant transformation on people’s expectation for transparency, access to information, and knowledge. Organizations are continuously trying to keep up, and in many cases, catch up.

The success of any business depends greatly on the efficacy of the workforce, and the workforce can give its best only if there are effective communication strategies in place. 

Though it is now much easier to communicate frequently through smart online platforms, organizations often ignore and forget the essential role in strengthening the workforce by building trust.

“Business leaders should never underestimate the importance of team communication, and the implication this has on building trust.”

It is undoubtedly vital for all employees to have clarity on the objectives, values, and mission of the company. However, it’s important to go a step further to help people become aware of their own as well as their colleague’s ideas and plans on how to carry forward plans to achieve those objectives.

Even if a team leader efficiently delegates roles and responsibilities to employees, any communication breakdown can crucially hamper progress.

As a leader, one must cautiously observe the engagement level of teams in order to keep the energy of excitement in the workplace going. It is essential to understand that a disengaged employee can adversely affect the productivity of the entire workplace.

You don’t solve the problem by firing the disengaged employee, you solve it by getting to the root cause of the issue: lack of intimacy and trust.

Leaders are responsible for diligently taking care of their team and developing open and frequent communication channels within the workforce.

“Communication, with the intention to build trust, is the main KEY to employee engagement.”

Seven Ways to a Better Communication Channel

A proper communication channel ensures enhanced support for your team. Here are some ways to better communicate and increase engagement in the workplace:

Have personal interactions — A closed-door suggests physical as well as psychological hindrance in the workplace. Get rid of these barriers, encourage one-on-one interactions with employees, and openly discuss your needs and expectations. Clarity on a project’s demands, their exact role and responsibility will enable you to gain their trust and provide them sufficient preparation time to maximize their potential.

Embrace constructive feedback — Feedback on projects is a natural and significant form of communication as long as it is bi-lateral. Most often leaders deliver one-way dialogues in the form of feedback and ignore employees’ comments and concerns. Listening to your employees will help you gauge their pertinent issues and come up with constructive solutions. This way, removing obstructions on the path to success becomes a joint effort.

Reward and recognition — Showing appreciation for your team encourages motivation and exhibits that you care and respect them. Celebrating their ideas, thanking a team member for competently finishing a project and expressing gratitude on small occasions is the most productive way of increasing engagement. When employees feel valued, they deliver their best on every project. The other thing you can do is to encourage peer-to-peer recognition.

Reinforce team spirit — If there is one certain thing you want to focus on, it is that teams get along well with each other. This will ensure that they communicate better. Team building activities positively impact the productivity and morale of the company. Employees communicate more openly outside of a work environment and build stronger relationships. As a leader, create such opportunities through team lunches, group meetings, outdoor activities like fitness sessions or interdepartmental sports challenges. In the age of Covid-19 stay at home orders, many of these activities can still be accomplished virtually.

Use spare time actively — Team bonding is the best way to open communication channels. Trivial activities like employees taking coffee breaks together at different times are prevalent. You can actively use break times for informal meetings and discussions by encouraging the entire team to take a break at the same time. This enables free and open conversation and allow them to catch up on projects and exchange ideas. Again, these are more challenging to accomplish due to Covid-19 stay at home orders but can still be accomplished using technology tools.

Training as a team — Training does indeed take time and money, but proactively training the team with communications skill courses will significantly improve the quality of their overall work. Even taking part in team psychological sessions will help them open up about their workplace concerns and build a stronger bond between you and them. Using check ins and circle up times to just express each other’s feelings, can do wonders to build intimacy and open communication.

Use appropriate communication channels — As a leader, it’s best to handle every project in a way that requires and reflects the most effective communication channel. For a project that demands a hands-on approach, encourage face-to-face meetings to interact and engage. On the other hand, for projects that require team members to be in multiple places or when face-to-face isn’t possible, invest in crucial online systems and collaborative applications for productivity.

“The end goal isn’t really about communication per se, it is about showing true care and building intimacy, which translates into mutual trust.”

With evolving technology and new communication channels, you can stay on top of any problems that arise and competently encourage team interaction and communication.

If you observe carefully, you will find that there is, in fact, no secret to increasing employee engagement in the workplace.

All you need to do as a leader is to simply care and respect your employees. You do this by cultivating an open environment where they can honestly convey their concerns on areas that need improvement, or the changes that need to be made for the workplace to be more efficient and productive. 

You then take the ideas and concerns shared, and you do something about it. You take action to make the necessary adjustments, even if you don’t fully personally agree, because in the end it’s not about you — it’s about the collective team.

“A great leader chooses commitment before ego by putting the needs of the team first.”

Business Innovation Brief

Satisfied Employees and Customers Translate into Business Success

Satisfied Employees and Customers Translate into Business Success

Satisfied Employees and Customers Translate into Business Success

Most business leaders, irrespective of the market they are in, consistently push to maximize growth, profitability, and value of their business. They devise innovative strategies to strive through economic upheavals and achieve their planned objectives and target.

Performance measurement plays a big role in developing policies, evaluating the achievement of organizational goals, and accordingly compensating employees. Measuring performance accurately and ensuring productivity in the workplace can be extremely challenging.

Due to the distractions caused by all the noise in the world, smartphones, social media, and the demands of personal lives, most employees find it challenging to focus and produce the best work they can.

“Many organizations are so bent on increasing revenues, profits and growth, that they erroneously ignore the value of their employees and customers quality of life.”

Employee and Customer Satisfaction is Correlated

An organization can thrive only when customers are happy and satisfied. Employees are both the face and backbone of an organization. Employers need to not only understand, but fully embrace that there is a direct correlation between measuring the satisfaction of both employees and customers.

Both need to be fostered carefully. Studies from various research surveys have successfully demonstrated that employee satisfaction guarantees higher profits because:

    1) Helps an organization to develop a positive and affable reputation that spreads and entices new customers.

    2) Retains more customers since happier employees tend to meet or exceed customer service expectations.

    3) Minimizes issues and enables customers to consistently receive the same friendly service, resulting in loyal customers.

“Satisfied employees translates into satisfied customers. Engaged employees translates into loyal customers. It’s not a complicated formula.”

Ensure a Good Quality of Life

It is the responsibility of the organization to ensure a high level of job satisfaction for employees. A motivating environment provides employees a sense of pride in what they do.

Leaders can improve motivation in the workplace by doing some basic things that costs nearly nothing to implement.

Provide a positive work-environment — Employers need to look beyond the call of duty and provide for the needs of employees at a more personal level. They need to inculcate a sense of belonging. This ensures employees feel like they can be their authentic selves without being afraid of disparate treatment or punishment.

Provide adequate reward and recognition — Personal recognition is essential in building morale. A simple pat on the back, a personal note from a supervisor, makes employees feel valued. Those who go above and beyond to assist their peers should be celebrated and rewarded to promote this attitude further.

Enhance employee engagement — Employees are more committed and engaged when there is a safe space for them to actively contribute their ideas. It provides them a sense of ownership and pride in the work they are doing for the organization.

Develop skills and train the workforce — Training and education encourage employees to be more productive and innovative. Well-trained employees are more enthusiastic about working and are more capable of answering customers’ questions, which results in better customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Measure job satisfaction — The primary aim of evaluations is to measure the employees’ attitude, morale, and motivation. This includes identifying problem areas and the effective implementation of improvement plans.

“Measure how successful the environment is, based on how proud people are to work there, equal to how a board of directors measures profitability.”

Happy Employees = Happy Customers = Profits

The real competitive advantage of satisfied employees is that a trained and motivated workforce proudly works together and contributes their energy to achieving the organization’s collective goals.

Employee satisfaction becomes even more critical in any business where employees are directly interacting with customers. Businesses like retail, hospitality, and B2C companies with customer service centers.

Traditionally such employees are massively underpaid and overworked — not a good combination towards achieving a satisfied workplace.

For these workers, it becomes a thankless job and gets worse when customers start complaining or yelling at them. It is precisely where employee experience in the workplace plays an important role.

One of the easiest ways to enhance employee satisfaction is to not only ask for and welcome suggestions and feedback, but to proactively implement them. They are sure to have the greatest insight into customer needs, being the ones who are directly engaged with them.

Employees can be the biggest contributors to organizations when it comes to customer satisfaction, if they are part of an active and motivating workplace.

It’s crucial to shift the mindset from employees working just for the sake of paychecks, to acknowledging that they are significant contributors to the success of the organization.

Employees need to understand how vital their role is, and how their consistent effort ensures the satisfaction and retention of customers.

Having happy customers implies better profits and growth for the organization, irrespective of the economic condition or market challenges.

Smiling customers and satisfied employees are undoubtedly the real indicators of the overall success of any organization.

Business Innovation Brief

Embrace Diversity & Inclusion with Intentionality

Embrace Diversity & Inclusion with Intentionality

Embrace Diversity & Inclusion with Intentionality

Diversity at the workplace implies an organization that employs a diverse team of people that directly reflects the society in which it exists and operates.

True diversity entails identifying all of the elements that makes us distinctive from one another and respecting and appreciating what makes each of us unique in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and nationality.

Diversity allows for the exploration of differences in a secure, positive, and caring environment.

“We need to both embrace and celebrate the rich dimensions of diversity constituting each individual and place a positive value on diverseness in society and the workforce.”

Inclusion, on the other hand, is about belonging. Inclusive cultures provide a support mechanism and commitment to everyone, so that they can perform their best at work. The dynamic process of inclusion encourages each individual to feel valued as an essential part of an organization.

This cultural aptitude engages and retains employees, while functioning at full capacity in a warm, nurturing atmosphere, where motivation and morale soar.

In organizations that do not embrace diversity and inclusion, employees tend to feel disengaged and discouraged from not being treated fairly and equally. It’s understandable why people eventually lose faith in the leadership in those environments.

Proactive organizations consider diverseness and equality as great opportunities to reform and develop organizational quality and efficiency.

“Treating people fairly and appreciating each individual promotes enthusiasm, unity, and loyalty in the workforce at all levels.”

Ageism

Ageism is real and becoming more and more an evident form of discrimination in the workplace. It can adversely affect professionals long before they start to approach retirement. Prevalent stereotypes about older workers include the idea that they can’t keep pace, or cannot be digitally savvy, and this can have significant consequences.

Cultivating and advancing the concept of diversity and inclusion is a must in the workplace in order to value everyone for their strengths, capabilities, experience, and potential. Having a philosophy and policy of equality in an organization that is followed by both its leaders and employees, is the core foundation of a progressive and ethical workforce.

Age-diversity can offer multiple advantages for modern organizations, just like any other kind of diversity at work. While younger employees are sometimes favored for being more tech-friendly, it’s important to remember that digital skills can rapidly become obsolete.

Consistent learning opportunities are essential for workers of all generations, including older employees who are more eager to learn, and often have learned to curtail their egos as well.

Training and up-skilling aging employees can help companies avoid the costs of hiring new ones and retain institutional knowledge. It is the responsibility of leaders to make it easy for employees of all generations and at all levels to access learning resources without stigma.

Though some people can’t wait to retire, many of them are still eager to keep contributing their talents and experience to the workforce because of their loyalty and commitment to an organization.

“To utilize all the benefits of a multi-generational workplace, ageist attitudes must be actively suppressed wherever they appear.”

The Invisible Diversity

Another form of diversity that is not common enough in the workplace are people with disabilities. Disability is often misunderstood as only being something visible like someone in a wheelchair.

Disabilities are both visible and non-visible. They include chronic illness or conditions, developmental disabilities, and mental health disorders. This common misunderstanding of disability is usually overlooked by employers, which leads to several negative connotations being associated with them.

It is essential to make employees comfortable with opening up about their disability. A culture of inclusivity should be encouraged in the organization by raising awareness of disability issues, including presentations by external speakers, panel sessions on disability-related topics, and training on different disabilities.

Companies need to create a dialogue and a safe space within which employees can address their concerns regarding how a disability affects individuals at work. For unconscious biases and negativity to be rightly questioned and for disability to be given visibility in the workplace, the leaders need to develop a culture of inclusivity proactively.

Be Intentional

Organizations should be deliberate about including other people’s points of view. Encourage constructive conversations among employees for the sake of understanding. We live in a polarizing time with very strong views and opinions. Sadly, more and more people are challenging opposing views with threats of isolation, and shame tactics, instead of being open to learn why differences exist.

This is creating the need to go beyond sensitivity training. There is a need for training people to be grateful and be respectful, but to also give more recognition. As people become more aware of the need to appreciate each other, and recognize each other, they learn to see differences as opportunities to learn and grow, instead of being threatened by them.

Recognition from the top down isn’t going to create a more inclusive environment. It has to be practiced and managed among peers. This will require a more emotionally intelligent approach to working relationships among people.

Moving away from top-down hierarchical structures will also go a long way to create an empowered workforce where people are seen and heard equally.

Ultimately what people want is a sense of belonging, and to be able to have impact on their surroundings. Enabling self-managed environments rooted in mutual respect will go a long way to improve inclusion at work.

“Organizations who invest in emotional intelligence training, will fare better in creating a more inclusive work environment due to the benefits of increased self-awareness and gratitude among employees.”

To facilitate the concept of diversity and inclusion, leaders in an organization must bring individuals from different backgrounds, listen to other peoples’ experiences, and be dynamic in their approach.

What’s needed is an eagerness to create an environment for learning. Encourage the humility to accept mistakes, and the courage to implement necessary changes to create a more accepting way of being. This will foster an environment of equality, encourage motivation, and strengthen a close-knit team.

Business Innovation Brief
Effective Leaders Create Highly Engaged Cultures

Effective Leaders Create Highly Engaged Cultures

Effective Leaders Create Highly Engaged Cultures

To have a seat in the corner office and delegate tasks with deadlines is the most commonly perceived image of a boss/leader. The strange thing is that some authority figures do believe that to be true and have accepted it as part of their work culture. This is mainly because they have come up the ranks in organizations where their seniors also followed the same attitude.

But there is much more to effective leadership than this. Effective leaders can have crucial impacts on not only their team members, but their company as a whole. People who work with great leaders tend to be happier, more productive, and more connected to their organization.

More connection leads to a series of ripple effects that reach the business bottom line. If you look around and see that your team members have become disengaged or stagnant in their work, it may be high time to reassess and reorient your leadership strategies.

Give People Real Purpose

Leaders can have a significant impact on company culture. They are the ones to traditionally set the agenda, prioritize work, manage workflow, and delegate.

Influential leaders focus less on organizing, and more on providing a sense of vision, purpose, mentorship, and are a consistent source of inspiration to others by setting the example.

One often unspoken about aspect of the corporate work environment is that employees are motivated by a variety of factors that likely transcend the transactional nature of “you do work = I give money.”

Those factors may not be the same for everyone. What is essential to some people could be meaningless to others.

“We are all united as people by the desire and yearning for a sense of purpose and meaning.”

Considering we spend most of our adult lives at our jobs, this is a particularly significant issue for all of us. Waking up day after day without a connection to our work, that doesn’t go beyond the transactional relationship of a paycheck, is demoralizing and unsustainable.

Here are some small ideas that can help develop in people a feeling that they are important to the organization by embracing their own strengths:

1. Let people do self-assessments and choose tasks based on their unique strengths. It will lead to greater results and allow people to thrive at work.

2. Support people on how to effectively make use of their strengths, which will lead to a measurable positive outcome for the company. Transparently share appropriate key performance indicators and revenue reports.

3. Enable peer reviews of strengths in regular performance conversations, and quarterly/annual reviews that are designed and lead by the employee instead of top-down. This will help them identify the areas they need to work on from peer feedback.

4. Provide events and opportunities to socialize. Happy hours, catered lunches, company sports teams, or celebratory events commemorating achievements are all great and viable options. Don’t use these as perks, use these as conscious opportunities to develop team intimacy.

5. Cultivate a “we’re all in this together” attitude by encouraging an all hands-on deck approach to work, especially when the work seems to be getting tough. Reward those who go above and beyond to assist their peers by promoting this attitude further.

“People who find their work meaningful are happy, better engaged, and able to deliver exceptional results for the business.”

Whether employees make meaningful connections through the satisfaction of using their unique talents at work or support their coworkers and teammates — it is always worthwhile.

Develop a Sense of Belonging

When people enter a new organization, they always wonder whether they will belong, and often struggle to find their voice. Many experience anxieties on whether there is a place for them in the company to feel welcomed, safe, respected, and valued.

Some studies have shown that feeling a sense of belonging in the workplace leads to more than just good vibes and friendships. Belonging is what ensures people to feel like they can be their authentic selves without fear of different treatment or punishment, and it has a significant impact on performance and retention.

“Belonging is the crucial piece of the puzzle to building highly engaged cultures, leading to better collaboration and problem-solving.”

If it’s so important, why do so many companies fail to provide the sense of belongingness?

They simply don’t pay enough attention to the people. It starts with referring to people as assets, resources, human capital, and even employees — as if people are a “piece of equipment you employ.”

Empathy is the foundation of our life. Empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and understanding how their feelings affect their behavior and motivation. Research shows that compassion is positively connected to job performance.

Managers or leaders who show more empathy receive consistently higher job performance ratings from their teams. Not everyone is naturally empathic considering the society we are living in. However, it can be learned and developed through coaching, training, or developmental opportunities and initiatives.

To care for your team is the best support you can provide”

Similarly, developing engagement through two-way communication ensures people are both listened to and kept in the loop with what is happening in the company. Ensuring that existing communication channels are used, or new ones are created to encourage dialogue, makes people feel that they matter.

When people get quick feedback, they know their ideas are valued, which makes them more committed to their job.

Let People Create Impact

There is constant pressure on organizations to be more competitive, and leaders need to have the right skills to influence employees’ innovative aptitude. What can be increasingly tough for leaders is keeping their teams motivated.

A common trend among younger workers is switching jobs, and this has become a severe issue in the modern workplace. Millennials are often criticized the most for being unattached to their organizations and their willingness to move from one job to another.

This isn’t a millennial issue, the reality is that no one wants to settle for less, and if we don’t get what we need and expect from our workplace, we will be more than happy to leave for a better opportunity. It creates a challenge for leaders who need to be innovative to motivate and retain this mobile ready workforce.

“To motivate people, one first needs to understand what drives them.”

During the hiring process, leaders can ask more profound questions to get a better sense of the strategies and methods they could use to help motivate and accelerate people’s performance on their own terms.

What is missing for most people at work is the freedom of choice. At times they are all expected to finish the job conventionally, and their ideas and new approaches are not given any attention.

This fixed mindset makes people hesitant to come forward in the future with innovation, while going through the same mundane processes hampers their productivity. It’s counterproductive.

When people are not recognized for their innovative methods and ideology, they try to find a more suitable atmosphere elsewhere, and that is the reason they keep switching jobs frequently.

A good leader needs to understand and respect people’s thought process and give them ample space to experiment in the workplace. With proper guidance and support, people will feel appreciated and enthusiastically engaged in delivering better results.

When people become a part of shaping the organization, they come to know that they are creating an impact with their work. This enables constituting a strong and close-knit team.

Good leaders are responsible for the success of the team as well as the success of each team member. An effective team leader must understand each member’s strengths, weaknesses, and goals and let each person thrive accordingly, on their own terms.

One must not forget that being a good leader takes time and genuine efforts. Although some individuals are naturally inclined to have excellent leadership skills, it is certainly something anyone can learn and improve upon.

With consistent hard work, dedication, and innovative strategic planning, you can lead your team to be highly engaged and more successful.

Business Innovation Brief

Removing Self-Judgements Can Help End Violence

Removing Self-Judgements Can Help End Violence

Removing Self-Judgements Can Help End Violence

Nothing will ever change for the better in our world until each of us looks inward, and identifies our own self-violence and conflicts. What we experience outside is a manifestation of the friction that is going on inside each of us.

We all spend a considerable amount of time in self-judgements, and this creates inner friction and the energy of violence. That is where the micro-chasm of violence starts. That is where prejudice starts. It’s not “out there” it’s within ourselves.

We can’t truly and fully connect to the idea of removing prejudice, racism, and violence from world, until we begin to lift our own the self-judgements that create our inner friction.

How do we dispose of the brutality which we have all recently witnessed?

We have to find a way to free ourselves of the savagery in our souls, psyches and spirits.

Taking a real deep look at ourselves in the mirror of self-awareness and seeking to find the brutality we harbor inside, is an immense advance towards ridding ourselves and society of its egoic propensity for outrage and insensitivity.

It is normal to blow up now and again, particularly when something doesn’t go right; such as getting cut off in rush hour gridlock. Typically, when we perceive indignation, we feel inept and embarrassed. On the off chance that we can screen our outrage and remember it originates from the bogus self-ego that it isn’t what our true divine identity is, we can pardon and release it.

We should be straightforward with ourselves, nonetheless, to see the resentments we hold on to, acknowledge them and assess the attachments we have in our hearts and psyche to these negative energies. We need to identify the internal friction we keep giving life to.

We have a choice and decision to make each time outrage emerges, to acknowledge it, and then state, “this isn’t who I am, I am love,” and let it go.

“When love enters our mind, body and soul, harmony is recaptured and resonated across the entire world.”

We are for the most part the heroes and the troublemakers of our own lives, yet love is what needs to be the pervasive force in order to impact change in our community and the world.

One way we can begin to change the outcomes of violence in our world is to make some astute move to sensibly lessen exposure to viciousness. Here are a couple of ways we can do that:

1) Refuse to watch savage glorification of weapons and viciousness on TV which are similarly as hazardous as abuse of alcohol and cigarettes consumption. The youth are in effect horrendously abused by the “entertainment and gaming” industries. They are being exposed to a regimen of brutality on TV, computer games and motion pictures.

Brutality, murder and wrongdoing are viewed as amusement since it brings in cash for TV stations, publicists, journalists, on-screen characters, movie producers, and their organizations and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

2) Fund psychological well-being programs liberally. Fund them and set psychological wellness front and center. All families either have or know somebody who is battling with some wellness challenge, causing them to abuse drugs, alcohol, and turn to unhealthy life choices to cope.

We need more wellness education and access to programs that reward people for speaking their truth and not feeling shame for who they are.

Self-shame is another form of self-violence that generates inner friction and negative energy. All that negative energy builds up over time, and manifests in riots, looting, disease, war, and division among people. 

We don’t give enough value to how these packets of negative energy create clouds of chaos in the future that come raining down on all of us in the form of human conflict storms.

3) Stop self-judgments. Regardless of how achieved we are, regardless of how upbeat we may appear, self-judgements creep up on all of us. They keep us from finding our capacity to transform ourselves and improve things.

Through the act of self-care, we can figure out how to see when we are tearing ourselves down, and start to change our propensity for self-analysis, and self-hate.

Stop the Friction

By and large, the desire for self-judgment is to secure ourselves against dismissal and disappointment. We dishonestly accept that, “On the off chance that I judge myself, I can get better so that others won’t reject me, and I will have a sense of security and get acknowledged by others.”

Progressively self-judgment follows the absence of activity, which brings about more tension, more friction and immobilization, until we are totally stuck and hopeless.

The exit from this is to get mindful of your sentiments of dread, tension, outrage or sorrow and afterward ask yourself, “What did I simply reveal to myself that is making this inclination?”

Once you become mindful of the self-judgment, you will then be able to ask yourself, “Am I sure that what I am letting myself know is valid?”

When we open up to reality, we will find a sort of sympathetic method of addressing ourselves, a way that causes us to feel adored and safe, as opposed to on edge, irate or discouraged.

“Be kind to yourself, and don’t pass judgment on yourself for making decisions about your life that lead you to learning and growing.”

It will require some investment and devotion to get mindful of your self-decisions and figure out how to be benevolent toward yourself, however the final product is so worth it.

A considerable lot of us measure our state of being not through cognizant decision, but through the disgracing we’ve been exposed to growing up. In any case, everybody has their own way of measuring their state of being.

What we have to learn is how to tolerate our own judgments in order to extend the same to others. When we proactively do that, we begin to lift the friction we show up with in relationships, in our community, and in the world.

The less friction we show up with, the less the violence in the world. It is truly up to every single one of us to make the effort to remove violence from the world, by first working on eliminating our own inner friction.

Business Innovation Brief

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