Posts tagged employees
Engagement versus Satisfaction: Tips for Startups
 
paper-3213924_1920.jpg

I recently went to a presentation about focusing on Employee Engagement instead of Employee Satisfaction. Employee Satisfaction is taking a pretty hard hit in the media these days, because if you are merely measuring satisfaction, you’re already behind. Satisfaction is essentially how “okay” a person is with his/her job daily; whereas engagement is the buy-in piece you’re searching for from an employee who is truly leaning into his or her work from an overall buy-in. You have to do more than Net Promoter Score.

For more information, one great summarized source is Gallup’s employee engagement management model, which is divided into four different areas of entitlement, contributions, community, & growth (https://www.tinypulse.com/blog/employee-engagement-employee-satisfaction-difference).

Paraphrased:

  • Entitlement: Do you know what’s expected and do you have the tools to achieve your expectations?

  • Contributions: Can employees contribute daily, in a meaningful way? Are the recognized for this? And can they see how this helps someone (the business? A key client? The world?)

  • Community: Do you have a best friend at work and a voice that’s heard?

  • Growth: Do professional development opportunities exist, in addition to growing within a role?

For startups and growing companies, there needs to be a contrived strategy to address these four areas, on regular timing and intervals; beyond the typical pitfall of “What’s expected of me? Anything and everything to get the job done. Tools to do it? I have to figure that out on my own. We’re a startup, that’s just how startups are.” Creation and delivery of this starts and ends with a leadership team dedicated to it, then empowering the employees to live it with their own voice, speaking up if they are lacking in support in an area.

The true driver to employee engagement is employee buy-in. If employees feel both invested in all four areas, and supported in all four areas, they will be engaged. Daily they will have satisfaction, which will increase productivity. So...what have you done to help engagement of your people today? Pick an area, look at it critically, and ask...but be prepared to act and make it better if it needs improvement. Then tackle the next area. It really is that simple. Start by looking at each area, and be prepared to pivot and identify your organization’s needs. Also be prepared to invest in your people so they have what they need at each step above. The startup journey can be harrowing, you need your employees engaged every step of the way.

 
Connecting With Your Employees 101
people-3192204_1920.jpg

I wrote in a prior blog that Connecting is 90% of what motivation is about, but I forgot something basic. For some managers, it is easy to form a bond with your employees. For many, it is incredibly complicated and is very unnatural. What is appropriate as far as communication; particularly, amount of openness? Where is the line between what should and shouldn’t be shared with regard to personal life and interests outside of work? How does a manager balance a line to not be overly friendly, and possibly blur the lines between work and friendship in a manner that could lead to misunderstanding?

More than anything, managers should attempt to form a bond with their employees. This article by Forbes.com helps with ten very basic ideas of how to do so: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2018/03/05/10-simple-ways-to-get-to-know-your-employees-better/2/#3f8b3f8a5fab. The ideas range from having lunch with your employees to working alongside them. The ideas are cost minimal as well and are key to extending the relationship with an employee beyond just work content.

When you attempt to connect with your employees, there are many things that can be discussed that are not taboo - family members, friendships, hobbies/interests, music, television, fitness, games, etc. Steering away from politics and religion is likely a good idea, especially in our current nationwide heated environment today. You want to be able to find common bonds with your employees while also not finding topics that can be abrasive or lead to discord.

It’s always the manager’s responsibility to make the effort, and make more effort, than the employee to connect. Being connected to your employees makes them more likely to be content in the workplace, as Gallup asks in their Q12 Employee Engagement Survey, “Do you have a best friend at work?” (source: https://q12.gallup.com). While I’m not suggesting, nor would I think it appropriate, for a manager to become besties with their employees, this question inherently portrays the need for connection at work to the people with whom you are working.

Aside from overseeing daily functions, and managing the direction of the department/function, it is management’s responsibility to form connections with their employees to get to know them, thereby increasing the employee’s motivation. Which leads to job satisfaction and, ultimately, longevity and quality of performance in the employee’s role...and helping the company’s bottom line at the end of the day.