Work as Holiday: Five Ways to Boost Employee Career Engagement

It's no secret that an engaged workforce contributes to the bottom line. Learn five strategies managers can use to motivate and engage their teams.

For many of us, a career is primarily a source of financial stability, and we need to get away occasionally to relax and enjoy a holiday with family, friends, or even alone.  But is there a way that companies can make time at work as enjoyable as being on holiday? Is it possible to create a workplace that is so engaging that people aren’t working from weekend to weekend and actually look forward to Monday morning? Sound impossible? Read on.  
 
It is no secret that an engaged workforce contributes to higher financial returns. Studies have shown that companies with high employee engagement have seen a yearly positive change in operating income of over 15%, compared to companies with low employee engagement where the change is -30%.  
 
What is really interesting is that managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement scores! So, if you are a manager, here are some strategies and tactics on how to create an engaging, career-oriented workplace. If you aren’t a manager, consider sending this article to your boss!
 
1. Work as a reward
Nothing compares to the feeling of success. When organizations directly link organizational achievements to individual efforts, employees will perceive work as a source of joy. This requires several things. You have to hire and cultivate passionate, dedicated people and you have to set clear goals and performance management metrics for evaluation. When employees are held accountable for results and rewarded for their achievement, engagement levels rise.
 
2. Humanize your approach
Managers have to build genuine relationships with their staff, recognizing their dreams, fears, hopes, passions, and other emotions. “Put yourself in their shoes” is a cliché but employees love managers who demonstrate empathy and provide help and encouragement when needed. Motivation also rises when employees realize their work serves a larger purpose. However it is not enough to simply remind them of the vision statement.  Instead, share stories about real people whose lives were improved because of your company’s services or products; that will touch employees’ hearts and help them realize their work is needed.  
 
3. Grow together
While organizations rely on their workforce to grow, people also aspire to grow and develop their own careers. In fact, two thirds of individual performance drivers are tied to career conversations. To create a dedicated team of employees, organizations have to ensure that a proper career plan is developed for each individual. People are far more likely to be engaged at their work when they know how they can potentially grow within the company. Moreover, it was found that building on employees’ strengths is much more effective than focusing on fixing weaknesses. People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.
 
4. Teaming
In today’s business world, you can hardly find an activity which is done solely by one person. A huge portion of our daily work is about dealing with colleagues. In fact, interactions with colleagues are among the top factors that affect our job satisfaction. It is very important for organizations to establish and support formal, informal, digital and physical communication channels to facilitate cross-level and cross-departmental conversations. Having these conversations can foster common goals and align tactics. By emphasizing shared goals and transparent communications across multiple channels, managers can help employees become truly and happily engaged in today’s collaborative work environment.
 
5. Culture
It would be unfair to write this post without mentioning the importance of corporate culture. How can you expect a workforce to be focused and motivated if their environment is toxic, hostile, discouraging, or a combination of all? Creating a people-oriented culture that incorporates humanistic values such as respect, trust, diversity, and—yes—fun, is the foundation that enables all of the strategies listed above to flourish. Such a culture encourages innovation, guarantees safety of experimentation, and reflects corporate values in daily actions. Knowledge sharing is the norm and employees can always find a helping hand when needed. Creating such a culture is not easy, I know, but doing so is a critical step in getting your staff as enthusiastic about their careers as they are about their holidays.
 
Related Articles: 
Action Planning in Employee Engagement or So, Now What?
Leveraging Career Development to Retain Critical, Long-Tenured Employees
Are Your Employee Engagement Efforts Paying Off?

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