Entrepreneurs who are just getting their sea legs in the world of business may not consider employee engagement to be as important as brand visibility or cash flow, but they are dead wrong. As this Talent Culture piece points out, employees that are not engaged with their jobs cost small business owners money in three different ways. Their disengagement will impact how consumers view your brand, it will affect productivity via frequent unapproved absences, and it can even lead to damaged inventory and company equipment. Here are a few ways to make sure your employees come to work feeling engaged and inspired.
Take a look in the mirror
The only effective way to deal with employee disengagement is with quality leadership. If you’re not modeling positive behaviors, you’re the reason your company’s employees are disengaged. If you’re frequently out of contact for hours at a time, your staff knows they can’t depend on you. If you had to explain to your workers that their paychecks will be late more than once, they know you’re not trustworthy. And if you come into work dejected and unfocused, the people around you will believe they don’t need to put in any effort either. If you’re not prepared to be on call 24/7, meet your payroll obligations and keep your staff motivated even when you’re mentally and physically exhausted, you shouldn’t be a small business owner.
Listen to feedback
Another hugely important aspect of being a leader is soliciting and valuing employee feedback. If your staff doesn’t feel safe offering up their opinions unless they are in agreement with your own, you’re going to miss out on a lot of critical information. If your people also don’t feel that they can talk to you about their frustrations with the company or their role within it, they’ll start down the path of disengagement that ultimately leads to them leaving the company, one way or another. In addition to letting your staff know that you’re approachable, you should also allow them to give feedback via survey. As this Forbes piece mentions, by asking them to respond to nuanced and indirect questions, you can determine their level of engagement without putting them on the spot.
Always be clear
Finally, and this may seem incredibly obvious, you need to clearly articulate your vision if you want your employees to be engaged. If you are not able to clearly communicate your objectives and expectations to your staff, they will become frustrated. Over time, that frustration will turn into disengagement and finally, openly contempt. Bluntness may make you less likable in your employees’ eyes, but being polite yet inarticulate will erode and ultimately destroy their faith in you as a leader, and the viability of your company as a whole.
This article was written by Mario McKellop of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.