The first Engagement Elevator, Shared Mission, taught us that organizations with highly engaged employees have a clear sense of where they’re going as a company and why. Leaders communicate their purpose and vision well enough, and with enough frequency, that each employee, in turn, can clearly articulate the details with others.
The second Engagement Elevator, People Development, focuses on how managers can show that they care about their people, build individualized relationships, transparently share information, coach both strengths and weaknesses, and provide meaningful feedback. Are you investing in your people?
Focus on People Development to Improve Employee Engagement
We define employee engagement as the emotional commitment and willingness to give your best at work. Employee engagement results in more than happier employees. With thriving engagement, we see increased revenue, decreased employee turnover, and improved key account retention.
In the first blog, we discussed the four distinct themes that separate the most highly engaged organizations from those that don’t quite measure up:
- Shared Mission
- People Development
- Valued Voice
We call these four areas the Engagement Elevators because when company leaders are focused and intentional about doing good work in these areas, they can significantly lift (or elevate) employee engagement.
As we deep dive into People Development, consider how your organization compares to those that are highly engaged. Ask yourself how you can focus on people development to improve engagement on your own team.
Elevator Two: People Development
Peek inside the companies known for their first-rate cultures, and you'll find at their core, managers who are naturals at developing their people. When a manager has the innate ability to spot talent, hire the right people, and then set each person up for success, they pave the way for strong employee engagement.
After studying those that are the most masterful at turning a team into a “tribe,” we have built a list of best practices to share. Consider each of these best practices as another floor in the employee engagement skyscraper. As you conquer each floor and continue your elevator climb, you will make an enormous impact on your employee engagement.
How to Focus on People Development
- Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each person you manage so you can put them in situations where they can shine and help them put workarounds in place for the things that are not as natural for them.
- Clearly communicate your expectations, so every employee knows exactly what they are shooting for and what success will look like.
- Learn what makes each unique individual on your team tick and work to build strong individualized relationships with them based on that understanding.
- Develop your people through delegation. We have heard this called “label and link” because it involves labeling the task as a specific growth opportunity and linking it to the talent or skill of the employee, so they understand why you are assigning it to them.
- Commit to coaching your people—even your veterans—on a regular basis. Even the best athlete in the world has a coach.
- Show each person that you care about them in the way that will resonate most with each one. For some, you will want to show interest in and ask about their family. Others may appreciate you sharing information with them on a personal area of interest or a hobby. Still others will appreciate learning something from you that will help them grow.
- Share information about yourself with the people you manage so they know how you tick, and they can effectively communicate, collaborate, and get the best out of you.
- Demonstrate that you trust your people by giving them autonomy and the scope to do what needs to be done in a given situation.
- Provide consistent and meaningful feedback on what your people are doing well and help them to identify precisely what they could be doing differently to achieve greater success.
- Acknowledge successful behaviors even before they result in goal-attainment.
- Always celebrate success.
How does your company measure up?
Developing people is not a “sometimes” activity, but rather an exercise that needs to happen all the time, over time. Because the speed of business is lightning-fast and the number of distractions in your day is only rivaled by the number of fires you need to extinguish, you must have a process and plan to develop your people. If you wait until you have time, it will never happen.
We recommend that you begin by selecting one thing on the list above that you can commit to doing consistently. Then tell people you're going to begin focusing on it. There's no better way to add a little accountability for yourself! Once it starts to feel natural to you, select another item to add to your plan. Keep that rolling until you see your people growing in their jobs and feeling more engaged at work.