5 Strategies to Create a Positive Team Culture and Employee Engagement
Feb 07, 2020
Hi! It's Karen from Karen Vincent Solutions.
The culture of an organization and/or a team is very important to its overall success. As leaders, our goal is to have employees who want to come to work, who want to work hard for the success of the organization and who feel proud about what they do each day.
We want employees who are emotionally committed to their place of employment. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many organizations and, although they vary, statics show that less than half of the workforce is actually engaged in what they do day to day.
Does this mean that they are unhappy or disgruntled? Not necessarily. Someone could show up and like the people they work with, have fun at work and appreciate the paycheck the receive; however, this does not mean they feel connected or committed to the work they do each day.
When employees are not engaged, their effort is not as strong. When employees are not engaged, they are not very loyal and may always been looking around to see if there are new opportunities out there for them. When employees are not engaged, they do not see the importance of their role and likely do not feel valued for the contributions they make to an organization. As leaders, we should have a sense of how engaged our employees are and do what we can to increase the overall engagement of our teams.
We all know how much employee turnover costs organizations financially, however, turnover can also cost an organization team moral, loss of beneficial knowledge, gaps in service delivery and undo stress being placed on the employees who remain. It is the responsibility of an organization’s leadership team to create a culture where employees see their value, take pride in what they do, feel connected to the company mission and want to work to support the overall success of the organization.
Below are five strategies that can support leaders in creating positive team cultures which foster strong employee engagement. As you read through them, think about your organization and whether these are strategies that you currently implement. If your answer is yes to all…great job and keep it up! If not, consider how you may be able to start implementing one at a time. As you implement them, take note of any changes you see within your team dynamics or levels of engagement. As a leader, your team is your biggest asset and any time invested in them is time well spent.
5 strategies for increasing employee engagement:
- Don’t foster an environment of competition. While there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, a work environment with lots of competition and pressure to be the “best” is counterproductive. When leaders encourage employees to compete with one another, they are far less likely to support one another. Having a team of employees who support one another and who work collaboratively together will always give you better output than having one or two superstar employees. When employees are out for themselves or looking to rise on their own, even at the expense of others, they are often doing it, not for the good of the company, but for their own personal gain. Employees with this mindset and work ethic are less engaged in the company mission and the success of the team as a whole.
- Create a trusting environment. When employees trust their leader, they are more willing to go the extra mile and stick with them through the challenging times. This is because they believe that their leader will do the right thing for the overall success of the company and thus, for them. Employees don’t always see the big picture because they are focused on doing a good job within their particular role. When changes occur within an organization, or employees don’t hear from leadership about the bigger vision, they sometimes speculate on their own. This can end up being a distraction or cause employees to think things are not going well. Being as honest as possible and letting employees know why things are being done a certain way, helps to build trust and respect. When employees are reminded of the company vision and are provided with updates about how things are progressing or about any changes happening along with why those changes are happening, they become more engaged because they feel like they are valued and play a role in the bigger picture.
- Be inspiring. Depending on the size and location of your team, it may not always possible to have regular, in person communication with your team. However, with the technology we have available to us today, we can connect with many employees at a time regardless of anyone’s physical location. When communicating with your team, be excited and energized about what you are doing as an organization. Even when it is challenging, demonstrate enthusiasm that the hard work is worth it. Stress that with change comes growth and share how changes will help the organization thrive. Another great way to be inspiring is to highlight successes. Have team members share successes and highlight and celebrate team success, successful projects, sales, etc. Regularly reach out and offer recognition and encouragement for progress being made or for the consistently of the team who shows up each day and gets their work done. Of course, you want to celebrate the big wins, but celebrating and appreciating the small wins, that when strung together lead to big success, is just as important.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. While the work you do is likely very serious and requires hard work every single day, having an environment where teams can also have fun is important. If an environment is too serious, it could result in employees feeling like they are walking on eggshells or in their burning out. Role modeling this for others is the best way to achieve this goal. If you don’t want an environment where people are taking themselves too seriously, you need to take opportunities to role model this yourself. Acknowledge when you forget something, laugh at yourself if you make a typo or misspeak about something. Share a funny, personal (but not too personal) story that humanizes you and demonstrates a flaw. If employees think their leaders are super humans, it becomes hard to connect with them and can result in a culture that lacks any true connection or joy.
- Don’t let one negative thing overshadow 100 positive things. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen many times. Let me first say, I am not suggesting that we should ignore the negative things that happen in our businesses. Whether a customer service failure, a missed deadline, a lost account, decreased revenue or the many other unfortunate things that can happen in business, we must address them, learn from them and put systems in place so that they don’t happen again. What I am suggesting is that we don’t lose sight of all the things that are going well, despite one negative event. When a team feels like the leadership only highlights the negative things, they may disengage or become burned out or even disgruntled. Even during challenging times, reminding your team of their successes and how they positively impact lives each day will help keep them engaged and feeling valued for the work they do.
Think about how you can incorporate one or more of these suggestions with your team. Also, if you liked this blog post, check out my post 6 Strategies for Becoming an Effective Leader.
Live your best Boss Lady life!
Karen Vincent Solutions
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