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3 Mistakes Leaders Make That Sabotage Employee Engagement

good lightIn the virtual/work-at-home environment, leaders understand that employee engagement drives productivity and performance. Successful employee engagement is not a linear process, but a continuous cycle.

Here are three mistakes leaders make when it comes to employee engagement that can sabotage their organizations:

Not understanding the communication formula for connecting with employees

Sure, we know that communication is key, but there are multiple facets of communication that need to happen, and it’s not “one size fits all” for employees. The duration of the communication, the number of daily touchpoints of communication during an employee’s shift, and the number of communication channels are the key.

Spending just 15 minutes during the day talking to an employee is not enough. Talking three times a day for five minutes isn’t the key either, or even chatting three times a shift. And while some employees might like fifteen minutes to talk with their manager three times a day, that’s probably not realistic for most organizations, especially if a manager has 15 to 20 team members. Every employee is different, and leaders need to change up the combination of the types of interactions, the duration, and the number of touchpoints depending on what the employee’s needs are. Variety and consistency are the keys here, and utilizing multiple mediums, including the phone, is important.

Operating in a vacuum

It’s obvious that letting everyone know what’s going on is important. Equally obvious is that in the virtual/work-at-home environment employees can’t see that. When employees can’t see what’s going on, they start to imagine what could be happening. They then turn to coworkers to get more information. People start chatting and texting, and productivity decreases. If it’s negative chatting and talking, it can spread like a wildfire.

Control the narrative and positive talk on the floor by developing a plan to communicate. Record a video explaining the situation, business challenge, or change in process. Ask for feedback on a community board, or survey employees to get their thoughts. This also can happen in a team meeting, over email, or in the team chat room. Keep the conversation going, and don’t leave your team hanging. Communicate with them about the situation and what the game plan is. Start the communication in a variety of channels and then continue this process by gaining feedback and communicating back to your employees.

These communication feedback loops are important. Your employees will appreciate the transparency, and it will create positive chatter among them.

Thinking that technology is going to increase employee engagement

Technology is there to support business processes. Jumping in to purchase the latest and greatest employee engagement software will not bring you the results you desire. A lot of companies make the purchase and never fully utilize the software or get the desired results.

It’s necessary to identify employee engagement gaps and understand how you want to engage employees. Ask your employees what they are looking for and how they want to engage on process changes, handle new product launches, conduct daily interactions with the team, and engage with their managers. Then get engagement strategy ideas from multiple technology companies. Bring those strategies back to your team, and develop a good communication feedback loop.

Full transparency and constant communication in multiple channels is important. Get the teams involved, and keep them updated. Experiment with different strategies, and circle back with your employees. Once you have your business requirements, you will have a better idea about what that technology can and can’t do to help you reach your employee engagement goals.

Food for Thought

The key to leading is to look at the way you are currently leading. Are you truly communicating the way your team wants you to? Don’t guess. Ask your employees. They will be willing participants in the conversation and offer lots of opinions and ideas. Hear them out. They know you can’t launch all their ideas, but they will feel heard.

Utilize communication channels in different ways—video, phone, chat, text, and email. Post on your team’s intranet or discussion board. Employee engagement doesn’t have to be confusing, but it does need to be a multifaceted and consistent strategy. With consistency, employees will relax, be engaged, and do their jobs.

Topics: Culture And Engagement, Employee Experience, Remote And Virtual Teams