Keeping Employees Engaged and Excited

Does it sound too “Pollyanna” to say that you want your employees excited about work? Well, maybe it is going a bit too far for some of us but, if nothing else, you certainly want them engaged in the work they do and in your organization.

In the December 3, 2012 issue of Fortune Magazine, there was a short but powerful article titled, “Five Ways to Keep Employees Excited” and I think they are on to something. Here are their five good ideas:

1. “Give them a voice.” Asking your employees what they would do differently to run your business can provide you with amazing ideas. Remember, your employees are closer to the day to day operations than you may be—especially the higher up in the organization you are. Talk to the front line employees who interact daily with customers whether on the phone or in person. Ask them what they are hearing from customers and implement the ideas. People love to be asked their opinion, so find ways to ask and to listen carefully.

2. “Clear the roadblocks.” The article mentions an idea from Jim Collins who says if you are asking how to motivate your employees you are asking the wrong question—you should be asking “How do I stop demotivating them?” Again, ask your employees what policies or practices you have that are getting in their way. Maybe it is outdated practices that haven’t been looked at for years. Perhaps your organization has long, unproductive meetings. Maybe you have some employees who aren’t pulling their weight. If you make some small changes, you may excite your great workers to do even better!

3. “Grow better bosses.” We’ve all heard the phrase, people don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. According to the Fortune article, a recent survey said that 65 percent of respondents would rather have a new boss than a raise! How are you selecting and developing your managers? May be time for some serious professional development!

4. “Take a break from austerity.” The last few years have been tough! Some organizations are finding that taking time to have some fun is making a difference. One organization takes its 27 employees on a trip to an exotic location if sales goals are met. The result is increased productivity and excited employees. Maybe you can’t take everyone away but you certainly can celebrate any successes you have and say thanks to your hardworking staff!

5. “Make their dreams real.” A call center had turnover of over 110% annually which was killing the business. He started a program where he made one dream come true for employees each year. He was surprised to find that people weren’t asking for trips around the world but things like money for a deposit on an apartment. So far, the program has reduced voluntary turnover to 25%.

These ideas may not all work for you but we hope they will get you started thinking of how you can keep YOUR team engaged and yes, even excited about working for your organization.

We’d love to hear your ideas so let us know what works for your organization and we may feature you in a future blog.

For more on employee engagement, see The Big Book of HR.

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