There is no question that employee engagement is a large issue. Over half of the nation’s employees are looking for the next opportunity somewhere else. Breaks are becoming more frequent, time is skimmed off both ends of the work day, and turnover feels like the new normal. It doesn’t have to be this way. If we as leaders focus on removing barriers to engagement, our employees are then free to focus on relationships with customers, innovations, and continuous improvements to our organization.
What do engaged employees look like?
Engaged employees can be found in companies across the country. They say things like “It would be my pleasure”. They feel a connection to and ownership of their company. In retail, they would walk you to the item you have inquired about while discussing the options you will find when you get there. They may further engage in conversation depending on the feedback they received. These engaged employees would ask if there is anything else they can assist with. In other areas it may look slightly similar. In food service they may individualize the service experience to customer desires at a glance. They easily pick up on cues to discern which customers are in a hurry and don’t want to be disturbed vs. the ones who have plenty of time and prefer an engaging conversation. In business to business sales, engaged employees would strive to build deep and broad relationships. They are focused on having a positive impact for the client and a clear understanding of and communication with the client, their specs, and their expectations. They stay close to projects or products they have sold to ensure the client is getting what they want.
In contrast, disengaged employees may say things like “no problem”, “you will have to wait- I’m WITH a customer”, or may not say anything at all. In retail, they may ignore customers or, at best, point in the general direction of the items they were asked to help locate. In the food service industry, they are devoid of urgency, mix up orders, tarnish the brand, and fail to meet basic customer expectations. They may waste the customer’s time or their manager’s time and choose the wrong ways to communicate with the customer. Disengaged employees in Business to Business Sales seem to be more like order takers. They make promises they don’t follow through on, either intentionally or accidentally. They fail to communicate clearly with internal team members once a project or product is sold. This failure often results in deliverables that don’t meet client specifications or needs.
Of course there are also employees that fall in between these two ends of the spectrum. Employees that are barely doing their jobs and barely going beyond basic expectations.
How can StrengthsFinder Increase Employee Engagement?
1st Way- Individualized Communication- As a coach, when you speak the language of your employee’s talents, they are able to hear you more clearly. They can then focus their efforts on delivering exactly what you have asked for. For example, if an employee has a Futuristic talent, clearly describe to them how, when, and where their work product will be utilized. This will help them to envision the audience and tailor their work to meet the needs of the task.
2nd Way- Turn the tables- Alter your approach to business to build on the talents you have. Instead of becoming frustrated with the guy who asks too many questions, channel that inquisitiveness at just the right time, the planning stage. Focus your employees with Analytical and Strategic talents to help you avert the frustrations they see so clearly on the horizon. Seek these talents out in a positive way, on the offensive, rather than allowing them room to “shut down” ideas that are already in motion. This shows respect for their abilities and helps you prepare yourself for their insightful prediction. What’s more, your product or project will often be better for it!
3rd Way- Share the talent, specifically their language. There is no quicker way to “forgive” a frustrating team member than to understand the value that person brings to the team. Help your team members learn and use the Strengths language, use it consistently through your work place. Take time to task employees with the role of a talent scout, have them seek out what Strengths they see and how those can be used. Then use these questions for yourself and for your employees- When do team members shine? How can they seek each other out when they’re struggling with an assignment?
We want your coaches to apply these “Rules of Engagement” effortlessly and to make sure every one of your employees is engaged and invested. There are ways to make that happen, and Activate can help with this change. To learn more about StrengthsFinder, contact Activate Human Capital Group at 530-713-6359 or through our website. Our staff can begin drawing out the best in your team today.