There is plenty of advice on how you should engage your employees and why it's important, it's essential in making sure a department is effective on a day-to-day basis.
Establishing the right team culture helps bring employees together and this must be nurtured by all senior figures within the business, it's a shared responsibility for every employee.
You may be aware of some of the bad ideas out there to drive employee engagement ideas. If not, Google is your friend, however we found a variety of poor examples which included - Organising a workshop where colleagues tell each other what they really think of each other, team baths and bush-tucker trials.
But believe it or not, there is worse advice out there.
A ‘team-building’ day will solve your problems
Not only is ‘team-building’ an outmoded term, but taking an already troubled team out to the rainy back-end of Wales for a weekend of exercises is likely to make the situation worse. Even if it is the best day to have ever been thought of, one day will not solve the whole raft of problems that come into play within a department of employees.
A manager who believes that one day will resolve problems within the team is being unrealistic. It is a long process that takes time, effort and perseverance before any sort of results are achieved.
If someone’s having a bad day, it’s not a manager’s problem
Being able to talk to your employees on a one to one basis is central to ensuring that they are happy and on-track. Even if they are having a personal issue, you can’t depend on other people in the office to solve it.
It may be the case that someone else in the office may be better placed to deal directly with the issue, but showing that you have an interest in your employee’s welfare shows that you’re genuinely interested in them as people. The result of not engaging with your workforce on a personal level will be unfocused employees who are more likely to let their problems fester.
Engaging with 250 employees on a personal level is a challenge, but by ensuring that you are available and open to discuss employee’s issues (within reason) you will show that you care about them on a personal level.
You can motivate your employees through bonuses
Establishing a meritocracy has many benefits. However, by publically presenting bonuses and cash rewards to the best performing employees you can actually divide the workforce in the long term. Some employees may become more motivated but it can result in divide within the workforce.
The other danger is that this method can turn the focus away from customers and on to winning the cash. Whilst their productivity may increase, employee focus will be tied to how they can earn the financial benefit rather than actually solving customer problems. This will then undermine the reason for the cash reward being used in the first place.
Intimidation is the best way to motivate employees
Although for a short time an aggressive managerial style will get employees moving, eventually it will lead to a fearful business culture. Employees may start to focus on hitting targets more proactively, but you'll have a higher turnover and complications will arise where employees are scared to deal with management directly when issues arise.
This is significant for frontline employees in particular, because if they don’t feel confident in dealing with customers and aren't sure what they're permitted to do then it will make their service inconsistent and slow down the time it takes to deal with customers.
In other areas, intimidating management will mean that employees are scared to approach managers with problems or admit mistakes, choosing instead to leave them and let them escalate or to blame someone else. It’s hard to believe that this business culture will lead to a productive workforce.
Surveys will give you accurate feedback about employee engagement
Surveys are becoming a more and more common tool for measuring the engagement of employees. In large companies, it's easy to send a paper or electronic survey to figure out how employees are feeling rather than asking them directly.
However, surveys can cause speculation. ‘If you put bad things on the survey then management will reduce your pay’ or ‘don’t bother complaining on the survey because nothing will change anyway’ are two rumours which typically crop up. The fact that surveys disengage employees from management means that employees will fill them in positively, even if they have a genuine work place concern.
If you have a smaller organisation, consider doing feedback sessions face to face rather than sending out a survey. This way you’re not only more likely to receive genuine feedback but show employees that you actually care about their opinion.
If you’re a larger company, consider company culture and what you're doing to empower your employees. Remove any of the speculation surrounding surveys and when you have real feedback you can action the suggestions put forward. If employees don’t like surveys, change your method of employee feedback to something that suits them.
So what advice should I follow?
Make yourself and senior management approachable to your employees. You need to be open to receive criticism and feedback and be ready to deal with individual problems on a daily basis. By maintaining a good one to one relationship with employees they are more likely to work well with you rather than just slaving away for you. After all, their insights are going to elevate your business and ultimately result in a better experience for customers.
To help you out we created the 'Six Top Tips For Employee Engagement In The Contact Centre' where we highlight the most common complaints made by Contact Centre Agents and the best tips to help you stay on top of your game!