Care, show appreciation: Two ways to increase employee engagement

Researchers conducted a global Gallup poll a few years ago and found that only 13% of employees are engaged at work. If this stat is true, low engagement is at epidemic levels and it’s absolutely affecting productivity, innovation and competitive advantage.

Once the shock of that statistic has worn off, think about your company. The majority of employees within your company could feel adrift and not have the proper motivation to complete the work, due to a lack of connection with your company. What can you do beyond sending out a survey or doing a quarterly team activity to show interest in their careers? Here are two suggestions.

Show gratitude regularly

I often tell CEOs that a largely overlooked leadership behavior is gratitude. Being able to show gratitude for the team you’re leading shows your employees that you value their intellect and appreciate their contributions.

Cultivating a spirit of gratitude must be an intentional effort and if it’s not front and center in your mindset, the feeling of being simply a cog in the wheel or being taken for granted will creep back in, without you noticing.

When a good thought comes to my mind about a teammate, friend or family member, I obligate myself to share it. What good does it do if it just bounces around in my head? I’d rather share that good thought and help make someone’s day. This simple expression sends what I refer to as “the value message.” It’s a simple way of ensuring people feel and know they are a valued member of the team.

This simple expression, a quick “good job,” could make all the difference in helping ensure employees know their work counts, motivating them further to continue fulfilling the mission.

The gratitude you put forward will enable you to build a strong and connected team, which will enable you to create massive competitive advantage for your company.

Don’t forget employee development

Here’s a truth…the pace with which your employees grow directly impacts the pace with which your company grows.

Many employees act surprised when their manager shows she cares about their individual development and success. By actively engaging in understanding your team’s growth and development goals, this shows how much you value them as individuals, which circles back to gratitude.

Follow up individually with employees about their career aspirations and where they envision themselves within the company. Then, create actionable next steps to help them move in that direction.

Helping your team members achieve their career goals is a smart financial investment – one that many leaders miss. This step is a building block that will help propel you as a leader, helping to create a line at your door with top talent wanting to work for and with you. Make it a priority to create a work culture that focuses on valuing your team; these are just two ways to improve employee engagement.

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