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Looking for employee engagement ideas? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we discuss some of the best ways to foster focus, build productivity, and help your team work at their full potential.
Few things decrease employee engagement faster than having to struggle with the work environment.
Computers that crash, tablets that won’t connect to the internet, chairs that are uncomfortable, desks that are too small, furniture that’s not conducive to collaboration — all of these things make up your team’s work environment and have a direct impact on their engagement.
Ask your team what specific things frustrate them and what tools would improve the way they work.
Based on that feedback, do what you can to upgrade their work environment so they have the tools they need to do their job effectively and efficiently.
Distractions in the workplace may not seem like that big of a deal at first.
A text message here, an email there — they may only take a few minutes to get through, but they’re one of the most damaging things to employee engagement.
Small distractions like these pull your team’s attention from the task at hand, and — if they come frequently enough — actually force your employees to multitask. That’s bad for productivity.
Limit distractions whenever possible.
One of the most obvious distractions is the personal cell phone. Consider setting a policy that everyone silences their cellphones for the first two hours of the workday so they can focus while their energy levels are high.
It’s also beneficial to observe your team at work for an hour or two, paying particular attention to the things that distract them from their job.
Once you’ve identified the sources of interference, meet with your team or employees individually and suggest ways to get rid of the interruptions.
As employee engagement ideas go, this one’s pretty easy: Play team-building games.
One of the many nice things about using team-building games to increase employee engagement is that you can make them as short or as long — and do them as often or as infrequently — as you need.
For example, maybe your team would thrive going a few rounds on a typing speed test game every day after lunch. Or, maybe you hold a half-hour crossword puzzle race every Friday at 3 p.m.
Try different strategies to find the type of game, the duration, and the frequency that works for your team.
Other game ideas include:
Keep in mind that activities don’t have to be long or complicated to build employee engagement. They just have to be fun and get people working together toward a common goal.
This employee engagement idea serves the dual purpose of helping you:
It all starts with administering a personality test of some type (the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, for example). The results of the test will tell you each employee’s personality “type” and the traits that drive them.
For example, an INTJ personality type (from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator mentioned above) is a strategic thinker who sticks to the facts and is most comfortable when they make a plan and follow it step by step.
On the other hand, an ESFP is a people-oriented person who lives for the moment and strives to make things more fun for others.
Armed with that information, you can assign tasks so that the work itself doesn’t conflict with the personality type of the employee.
Similarly, you can design ways to motivate each personality type in a way that resonates with them (e.g., INTJs like working on long-range projects, while ESFPs look toward the rewards that completing a job brings).
Everyone loves getting off work early — it’s almost a universal truth. Harness the power of that truth to improve employee engagement in your business.
One of the best ways to do this is to let your team leave work at lunchtime on Friday. Or, better yet, bring in a catered lunch (or take everyone out) as a way to build camaraderie before turning them loose.
Of course, you don’t have to do this every Friday. Once or twice a month is just as effective. Or, perhaps letting your team leave early on a Wednesday would be more conducive to their schedule.
You can also switch the concept around a bit and allow your employees to come in late (perhaps at noon or 1 p.m.) on a certain day of the week.
Experiment with different options and find what works for your business.
Creating an employee of the month program is a great way to recognize and reward high-performing employees, boost team morale, make everyone feel valued, and improve employee engagement.
It all starts with establishing the underlying goals of the program (other than improving employee engagement, of course).
Do you want to increase sales? Decrease spending? Improve productivity?
With those goals in mind, you can progress through the following steps to build the program:
After a few months, reassess the program to see if your team is still engaged in the process or if they’ve lost interest. If the latter, refine the program to get everyone involved again.
Your employees’ energy levels fluctuate throughout the day. When those levels are low (typically around 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.) it’s more difficult for them to stay engaged.
You can help prevent these drops in energy and engagement by providing coffee and snacks for your entire team.
It may be something as simple as a carafe of coffee, a few bottles of water, and two types of granola bars. Or, it may be something as elaborate as a manned food cart or snack kiosk that employees can visit when they feel their engagement waning.
Every business needs standard operating procedures. They serve as the foundation for your team’s activities and give each employee a clear understanding of what you expect from them.
Create clear procedures and instructions for everything that has to do with your company, including:
By setting standard operating procedures for every process in your business, you make it easier for your employees to stay engaged.
You can lay the foundation for employee engagement by defining responsibilities within your organization.
Like setting standard operating procedures, creating a hierarchy of responsibility gives each employee a clear picture of:
Knowing this information can prevent employees from going beyond their duties in an attempt to get things done faster. It can also help them direct their questions to the right manager so they don’t waste time and delay the workflow.
Once you’ve established a clear hierarchy of responsibilities for both your team and your managers, keep it consistent.
Don’t change responsibilities day after day, or you risk creating confusion and making it more difficult for your team to stay focused and engaged.
Many businesses conduct at least one employee evaluation a year — sometimes more frequently (e.g., every three or four months).
It’s great to keep those formal events on the books, but you can give less formal feedback anytime. Doing so can improve employee engagement throughout your business.
And it doesn’t have to be a big production. Sometimes, small doses of feedback go much further than large doses of feedback once or twice a year.
For example, make it a point to commend an individual or the entire team when they:
This quick-feedback model also applies when you see something going wrong. Don’t address it two months later. Give constructive feedback right away and watch employee engagement improve.
Giving feedback to your employees is essential for their success and engagement. Equally essential, though, is asking for their feedback in return.
But it’s not just enough to ask for that feedback; you have to listen to it and act on it as well.
When your team members see that you take their feedback seriously, they’ll be more likely to experience a real sense of engagement and feel like they’re part of a cohesive group rather than a group of individuals who show up, do the job, and go home.
If receiving employee feedback is new to you, consider setting up a feedback box to get the ball rolling. Keep in mind that your box can be digital (e.g., a feedback email address) or analog (e.g., an actual, physical box in which they drop slips of paper).
Encourage your team members to submit:
When your team gets comfortable giving feedback, consider establishing “open-door hours” that give your employees the freedom to talk to you directly about what they’re experiencing in your business.
If you want to find out how your team feels about employee engagement, the culture in which they work, their specific jobs, your business as a whole, and what you can do to improve them all, try administering an employee satisfaction survey.
If you’ve administered a customer satisfaction survey in the hopes of learning how you can make things better, the concept is the same — only with an inward focus instead of an outward focus.
Once you’ve set a goal to create and conduct an employee satisfaction survey, make it a point to ask the right questions — about culture, management, and the job itself — so you get the information you need without wasting your team’s precious time.
For more information on how to improve employee engagement with this useful tool, take a few minutes to read this article from the Inch blog: Employee Satisfaction Survey: 21 Questions To Ask For Success.
Another effective method that can help improve employee engagement is to try offering an alternative work schedule.
No doubt, you’re familiar with the standard 9-to-5 work schedule, but there are so many alternatives that might fit your employees, your team, and your business better, including:
Such alternative work schedules can help your employees find a better work-life balance and feel more engaged while they’re on the job.
Keeping your team on task can be a full-time job in itself. But the benefits to employee engagement and productivity are well worth the time and effort.
Try setting daily goals and priorities so that each employee knows exactly what they need to accomplish during their time on the clock.
Depending on the size of your team, such organization may seem like — or actually be — a monumental job.
But with the help of workforce management software, such as Inch, it’s easier than ever to quickly and easily assign tasks, communicate these responsibilities to each employee, and monitor their progress — no matter where the work takes them.
With the right software solution, team members may even be able to access their task list through a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other mobile device so that they can stay connected in the office and in the field.
We talked earlier about how upgrading your team’s work environment goes a long way toward improving employee engagement.
It’s equally important to make sure that your employees are using the right tools for the job so that you’re not wasting capital upgrading technology that they don’t really use.
Depending on the type of business you run, “the right tools for the job” typically take the form of hardware and software that simplify and streamline repetitive and complicated tasks.
Common time-saving hardware and software includes:
Before upgrading any items in your business, take the time to observe your team in action and talk to them specifically about the tools they do and do not use regularly and what they would like if they had the choice.
Taking a hands-off approach to team management can produce improvements in employee engagement — up to a point.
We’re not talking about ignoring your team completely but, rather, giving your employees the permission, space, and flexibility to control how they approach and complete their work. In other words, try giving your team a bit more autonomy.
That said, it’s essential to provide the right amount of autonomy in your workflow — too much can lead to ambiguity, stress, and a reduction in the employee engagement you’re trying to improve.
One of the best ways to find the right amount of autonomy is to discuss with each employee their preferred degree of independence. Then, experiment with different options to find a balance between what works and what doesn’t.
Yes, diversity and inclusion sound like the same thing. But they are actually very different concepts.
Diversity in the workplace involves hiring people from different cultures, viewpoints, backgrounds, and personalities for your team.
Inclusivity, on the other hand, includes the practices and attitudes of your business that ensure that everyone:
So, you can have a diverse team — employees from different cultures, viewpoints, backgrounds, and with different personalities — but they may not feel a sense of inclusivity (i.e., that they are treated fairly and have equal access to resources and opportunities).
On the other side of the coin, your team may feel a sense of inclusivity but not have the diversity they need to succeed in today’s global business environment.
Ideally, you want to strive for both diversity and inclusion within your business. Doing so may empower your team to broaden their horizons, build engagement, and push your business to new levels.
Employee engagement depends on how they feel mentally and physically every day. In other words, engagement depends a great deal on health.
From your perspective as a manager that gives their team autonomy, that may seem like an obvious connection. But how many members of your team skip meals and go without sleep during a big project?
Probably more than you think.
Take the time to encourage your employees to maintain these important habits whether they’re busy at work or not.
In order to stay healthy — and in order to keep engagement high — your employees need to stay fueled. That means eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water.
If they’re spending long hours at work trying to accomplish the tasks you’ve set for a big project, make sure everyone has healthy snacks.
Pass out a bottle of water every hour or two. You can even order lunch or dinner from a local restaurant to keep energy levels as high as possible.
Regular breaks throughout the workday are a great time to relax and refuel (see previous tip). They’re also important for employee engagement. Taking a break every hour or two gives your team members time to de-stress and unwind.
You may have to make those breaks mandatory, but the performance, motivation, and engagement of your team will benefit because of it.
Some of the best employee engagement ideas that you can implement every day start and end with creating a strong and stable foundation on which your team can work.
We mentioned giving your team the right tools, creating an efficient work environment, and limiting distractions. Another of these fundamental employee engagement practices is scheduling and task management.
When your team members know when they’re going to work and on what, they can dedicate more of their time and energy to doing their job well.
But this type of organization is sometimes hard to come by. How can you cultivate employee engagement through task management? With help from Inch.
Inch is a voice-operated workforce management platform that combines task management, team communication, and time tracking to ensure that your team has the most efficient and connected work environment.
When it comes to organizing, managing, and optimizing the way your team operates, there’s no better suite of tools than Inch. Take your employee engagement efforts to the next level by downloading the Inch app for free today.
And, for more free resources to help you manage your business better, save time and energy, and keep your team on task, visit TryInch.com today.
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