Employee engagement is essential to keep staff motivated, increase business results and enhance staff retention. When I worked for a banking corporation many years ago, I attempted to spend time with each of the individuals who reported to me, primarily to get to know them better and discover their passions, giftedness and unique characteristics. I felt that, if I could discover these unique skills, I could try and include the use of the same in the work environment and thus make sure that everyone was using their giftedness appropriately. When people are engaged with their giftedness, they often contribute in a more focused fashion and usually achieve so much more.

I would do simple things, like grab a soft drink or health bar out of the dispenser, come over to a desk and place the item on the table in front of the employee and “watch” them work. This obviously is very disconcerting and the staff member would see me and eventually “down tools” and laugh and ask me what I really wanted. I would then sit down and start a conversation asking about family, wellness and attitude issues, without being intrusive, but showing that I care.

Having meaningful conversations with each staff member at least once a month should include one or more of the following issues/questions:

  1. What’s your burning passion and how can you bring that into your work?
  2. What’s your most distinctive skill or talent and how can you bring more of this into your work?
  3. What do you see as your career goals? How can we assist you in getting there?
  4. In what ways would you like to develop yourself further?
  5. How would you like to make a bigger contribution?
  6. What can be changed about the way things are to make them work better?
  7. What do you need to be able to do something really good – something that will impact our business positively?
  8. What would you like to contribute?
  9. What do you want to be remembered for?
  10. Is there anything that you are unhappy about or is there something that is hindering your performance?
  11. Is there any issue that you would like to raise?

The Corporate Leadership Council suggests that employee engagement enhances contribution and staff retention, presenting the following statistics for engaged employees:

  • Try 57% harder
  • Perform 20% better
  • Miss 20% fewer days of work
  • Are 87% less likely to leave the organisation

Employee engagement is indeed essential to keeping staff motivated, increasing business results and enhancing staff retention. Taking a member of your staff out for coffee, going for a walk together or just having a conversation on the balcony can grow your relationship and levels of trust. It also gives context for discussion about new ideas, performance issues and contribution. Employee engagement assists you in growing commitment from within and ultimately will positively influence interaction with clients.

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