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What is employee engagement? Employee engagement is a workplace approach that results in a healthy workplace condition to where employees can give their best every single day, are committed to the company’s goals and values, are motivated to contribute to the company’s success, and believe that working for the company contributes positively to their lives.

“Employee engagement is hard”, is a common thing that we hear from business owners and managers alike. What most do not realize is that employee engagement comes naturally when all other actions create a condition for it to thrive in. For example, a company’s culture should be consistent through the entire makeup of the company; in its policies, communication, seen in its benefit offerings, its employee performance/coaching structure, etc. When management and employees are consistent, it creates an atmosphere where employees feel safe and secure in the company and are able to invest themselves fully.

Think about it, would you invest in something that you were unsure of?

So how do we “Own” the engagement of our employees?

Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your management. Are they consistent with that of a healthy culture that promotes engagement?
When one manager says one thing and the other says something else, that causes confusion and inconsistency. Management should be on a united front to lead the team and company towards the company’s goals, and company posted documents should also reflect these same things.

Create an atmosphere that encourages employee communication and collaboration.
When employees are communicated consistently with in an honest way, they are able to trust their team. Communication that is found in engaged atmospheres includes critical feedback as well. Disagreements don’t have to be toxic or discouraged, in fact, many respectful disagreements create opportunities to suggest new ideas that everyone on the team can be on board with. Involve employees in decisions, and challenge them to think of ways that they can help make the company better.

Know the mission, breathe the mission, be the mission
No one is going to be as invested in your company and its success as the business owner. But your employees should be the close second, and are the legs to support it as its human capital. Simply posting your mission and values on a wall somewhere is not enough. Talk about them, reiterate them in all decisions that you make and show that they are why you made that decision. Employees who believe in the company are guaranteed to be engaged and dedicated to its success.

Invest in them
Employees are more likely to invest in a company that also invests in them.

Care about them individually; about their health, their career goals, them personally. Invest your time in coaching them and challenging them appropriately. Invest in their benefits and in what makes them happy and to feel successful. Listen to what they need from you, and invest.

Engagement is not a measure of happiness or satisfaction;
rather, when measured and focused correctly, engagement is about providing employees with the direction, clarity, encouragement, and growth they need to perform at their best.