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May 8, 2013

Employee Engagement: Responsibility or Burden?

Running a business or organization, whether small or large in scale, can be a difficult undertaking. Without employees, it is virtually impossible to accomplish anything, yet sometimes it can be difficult to engage and manage people effectively. Maintaining high office morale is one of the noblest goals for and responsibilities of a manager, but sometimes complications can arise that lead supervisors to see employee behavior in an unflattering light.

Keeping employees engaged can be seen as a burden, particularly when times are tough and things are not going as expected, but this is not the time to desert them. Employee engagement is one of the most important responsibilities a manager (and an employee) can undertake to improve office culture and productivity levels, so read on for some tips about how to obtain mutual satisfaction in the workplace.

A Two-Way Street

Increasing employee engagement is a positive way to improve your company. Keep in mind, though, that it is a two-way street. There are things you can do as a manager that will foster positive discourse for employees, but they need to be willing to accept the fact that they will have to try to engage as well. It is not your job to hold hands and provide employees with everything they need to the point that it creates an attitude of entitlement. It is each worker’s responsibility to contribute and support others.

With the above in mind and reinforced around the office, consider instituting some methods that will allow employees to be involved. Organize a weekly or monthly meeting in which employees can voice their opinions and give feedback about current issues around the workplace. Letting them know their suggestions are valuable is a great way to keep them engaged. Taking their ideas into account and actually implementing them is an even better way.

Delegate Responsibility

Another way to increase employee engagement is to, if possible, delegate more responsibility to workers. Nothing helps an employee’s self-esteem more than knowing that he or she is thought of as a competent worker who can handle more tasks. Make sure they are aware that they can come to you for support if they need to reconfigure their new workload or ask for other help.

Employee engagement can take on a whole new form when it involves small businesses. The culture of small businesses tends to be friendlier and maybe more personal than the environments of larger companies. It is important here to have defined roles and not allow things to become too amorphous. Make it known that your relationships are primarily business with a side of friendship, and not the other way around. As with larger businesses, check in periodically and let employees take part in a forum discussion about issues and provide feedback.

And don’t just listen to the feedback and brush it off; people in small businesses will notice much more easily if their suggestions are not taken into account, because things won’t get lost in the bureaucratic difficulties of a larger or corporate business.

Get Everyone Involved

Being a manager can be tough, but so can being an employee. One of the most valuable things that employees and managers can do is to mutually participate in discussions to improve and uphold office and business culture. Set the tone for this by clearly laying out expectations, making yourself available, and letting employees know that their feedback is useful. After time, morale and functionality will improve, and everyone around you will be happier for it. When everyone is part of the solution, your business will begin to soar.

William Taylor wrote this awesome article. He is an experienced writer and an entrepreneur. He also writes for a site  offering employee engagement and staff surveys.