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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Employee Engagement for a Lifetime

With Baby Boomers heading out and Gen Y heading in, companies are starting to feel the pain of the generational differences in the workplace. Baby Boomers are known to be the loyal generation and would typically stick with their employer for many years, if not their lifetime. Gen Y seems to have a different plan in mind in the sense that they’re looking for a job that is meaningful and a company that has a culture that matches their personal values. In the pursuit to find these ideal employers, it has been a common practice for this generation of employees to leave their employers within the first two years. So how can you increase employee engagement to create a sense of loyalty? Simple—you must brand your company.

Typically, when people think of company branding they figure it has to do with attracting customers, shareholders, and investors. But it shouldn’t stop there. Your employees are your biggest asset and in order to retain their talent, you must brand your company to increase employee engagement. Below are some reasons on why internal branding could benefit your company:

  • Your employees will become your megaphone: I’m sure you’ve heard that word-of-mouth is your best referral/advertising campaign. Consider your employees as free advertisement for your company. Give them a good or bad experience, and they’ll be blasting that information all over social media, telling their friends/family, and so on. How will what they say affect your business? Give them a good experience and they’ll be sure to tell others about it.
  • Allow your employees to be internal brand ambassadors: It is extremely hard to fake conviction. Therefore, if you have employees meeting new hires, it is important to have them meet the individuals that truly love and believe in your company to really get your new hires excited about working there. Setting that first impression is key in employee retention.
  • Make an investment to get a great ROI: Investing in your employees is very important. Your employees want to feel like they matter, that they’re being heard, and that they have a future in your company. This investment will make them truly respect you, want to be dedicated to you, and want to work hard so you’re proud of them. This loyalty and dedication can be a good way to retain employees long-term.
  • Branding leads to employee engagement: Employee engagement is one of the hardest things for HR professionals to master in their organizations. However, if you create a brand that gets your employees excited to work for you, then engagement will come naturally. Employee engagement can increase levels of motivation, productivity, empowerment, accountability, and responsibility.

Company branding should be more than just the external. It should also seriously focus on the internal. After all, your employees are everything. They help you progress, innovate, and be successful. If you aren’t able to successfully and effectively brand in a way to attract and retain talent, then you may have issues down the line.

 

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