Stretch Projects to Increase Development and Engagement

Recently, I came across something pretty inspiring. I learned that a department manager has taken the time to learn the individual needs and passions of each of her subordinates, regardless of how insanely busy she was in her own role. She regularly takes the time to speak to them one on one to learn what their career goals are, what skills they want to develop, and address any concerns. Although that is impressive in itself, she doesn’t stop there. She takes the time to find opportunities for her employees to develop the skills in order to work their way toward their personal and professional goals. Since she started doing this, the increase in engagement has been phenomenal.

If you are a manager that’s looking to increase engagement in your workplace, consider trying this:

  • Regularly schedule one-on-one talks with your employees in an open atmosphere.
  • Make sure you talk about your employees’ career goals so you can get a feel for what they’re looking to accomplish.
  • Discuss some of the tasks and skills they would like to develop.
  • Talk to other managers in your organization to learn of different tasks or projects they’d need assistance on.
  • Discuss these opportunities with your employee to see what they’d be interested in pursuing and what would be feasible for them to do on top of their current workload.

The extra work involved in this might seem overwhelming but the benefits are worth it:

  • Employees will feel more accountable and appreciative to have a chance to develop themselves.
  • Engagement and morale will increase.
  • Turnover may decrease because employees will feel like they have professional and career growth opportunities within the organization.
  • Employees will develop skills that can help them become more of an asset to your company.
  • Departments using the employees for their projects may be more efficient with the extra help.
  • Opportunities like this can allow departments to build a stronger bond and work better, cross-departmentally.
  • Employees can gradually work their way into a role or even determine if the role or career path fulfills their passions as much as their originally had assumed.
  • It can bring in new perspective and fresh ideas.

Sometimes extra training or promotion might not be feasible in your organization due to budget, financial, and hiring issues. But, in the interim, this could be a great way to keep your employees engaged and happy while working there. It promotes continuous learning and in a way they are truly passionate about. This can create a stronger and better workforce.

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Do You Show Your Employees Appreciation?

Many employers are still feeling the strain of the economy crash and as a result, have to be tight on their money and resources. Unfortunately, because of this situation, the employers feel like they can’t properly compensate their hard working employees in the way they generously have in the past. However, although they can’t necessarily afford bonuses, promotions, or fancy rewards like they may have been able to previously, there are still ways to show your employees that they are appreciated. These simple options could easily increase the morale of your employees.

Here are some ideas to show your employees that you appreciate their efforts:

  • Give praise: let your employees know that you’re taking the time to notice their individual efforts. Give them praise for things they personally have done well in.
  • Share with others: it can make your employee feel good if you share your appreciation for them with others.
  • Say thank you: whether it is their duty or not, it’s always nice to receive a simple “thank you.”
  • Take a load off: maybe you can’t afford to give your employees a free day of PTO but you can always help lighten their load. For example, for an employee that put in exceptional work: delegate some of their tasks to others or take on some tasks yourself. Giving your employee an easy, light day can really make a difference in an employee’s day.
  • Set up an event: once again, maybe you can’t have a huge, paid-for event for your employees, but you can still do something for them. Set up times to do an inter-office potluck so employees can take a break at work, enjoy good food, and mingle with others. A small social event like that could increase happiness within the workplace.
  • Write a handwritten letter note: recently, I received handwritten card from my manager to let me know she appreciates all my hard work. It was a simple thing but knowing that she took the time to write a personal note to me really meant a lot to me.
  • Provide opportunity: promotions might not be an option right now but employees still will appreciate the opportunity for professional development. Give employees the opportunity to network with others in the company, to shadow for jobs they’re interested in, or to do different training/development workshops.

It’s simple but yet it still is effective. Employees will appreciate the effort you take to make them feel appreciated. You would be surprised at how it increases a positive environment and morale.

Links:

Employee Appreciation

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