Improve Your People Skills & You’ll Improve Employee Engagement
To operate a successful company, it’s absolutely vital that you develop solid relationships with your employees that will create a strong culture of employee engagement. This means you must improve your people skills and continually work to make improvements. If you choose to do so, you will be a more effective communicator and have the ability to relate to personalities of all types.
If you make the effort to improve your people skills, you will simultaneously also be making the effort to:
-Improve the relationships with everyone in the company
-Get your employees to commit to the organizations goals and objectives
-Improve the bottomline of your business due to your employees having boosted morale and well-being
You can’t afford to wait on others to improve your employee’s engagement. You need to be proactive and take the initiative to do it yourself. This does not even have to require all that much of your time; it requires, more than anything, reframing your mindset to show that you value your employees and sincerely want each of them to succeed.
Studies have proven that employees are more likely to be productive and go the extra mile when feeling positive emotions. Though you can’t walk around all day being a ray of sunshine in your employee’s lives, simply just being self-aware of your current people skills and working to improve them will go along way in improving the performance of your employees. Feeling valued is one of the most important emotions to have when it comes to achievement. That’s just human nature. Your employees will give you more effort if they feel that they are valued by you and others in upper management. They will not just be there to collect their checks and go home, they will give you all that they’ve got.
To improve your people skills at work, keep in mind that these three questions are often running through your employees’ minds:
-Am I being valued for the work that I do?
-Do I value this company?
-Do I really belong here?
These common questions represent the fact that employees strive to be a part of something bigger than themselves. That’s why you, as a manager and/or leader, need to ensure that you and your company are answering those three questions, not with words, but with action. An employee feeling a sense of pride after accomplishing something at work is great and you can occasionally tap into their pride by offering praise; however, this does not mean you should offer too much praise, or your employees may become lackadaisical and start to falsely assume that they can do the bare minimum of their work and still be praised. Conversely, if you never offer any praise, employees will grow resentful and think that their efforts always go unnoticed, therefore, it’s futile to give their good effort. Your strategy must be to only offer praise when something truly good takes place. This is an effective people skill that will keep your employees energized and engaged.
If one of your employees cannot relate any of these five emotions, then that employee is most likely disengaged and not giving you quality work. Engagement in the workplace does not mean feeling good. It means feeling connected or committed to the organization’s mission statement and each particular employees’ objectives in their role.
You can simultaneously improve both you and other managers’ people skills and the engagement of employees by following these steps:
1) Directly Focus on Engagement
Leadership must make the effort to train both managers and subordinates to focus on maintaining strong employee engagement. The organization’s culture clearly matters. If you think the company’s culture needs to improve, then you should focus on practical steps that will allow you to make changes. You could even consider bringing in outside help, such as a consultant or coach, who can effectively help you determine how to increase engagement and morale without the bottomline suffering in any way. An outsider teaching you and tears people skills could benefit you and the company quite a bit.
2) Reconsider the Company’s Main Priorities
If some people in upper management aren’t buying to the importance of practicing people skills that lead to employee engagement, then it’s your responsibility to do all you can to inform them that engagement truly does matter and the main reason is due to the threat of production not being maximized. No one, whether it’s the President of the company or the maintenance person, should be exempt from applying their people skills to keep workers engaged. If that’s not a priority at your company, then you need to make it a priority and you should—
3) Open Up a Dialogue
Don’t just tell managers what needs to be done, listen to what their opinions are on the subject of employee engagement. It’s very possible listening to a new perspective on the subject will influence you to adjust how you view this issue. Don’t just acknowledge all missteps that have taken place in the past, have you and your team analyze how those mistakes can be prevented in the future. Don’t be too negative and be sure to provide many positive examples of how engagement has improved in the workplace in the past. Focus on finding solutions so that managers will be trained how to effectively apply great people skills with their employees.
4) Create Effective Policies
As you well know, many meeting end very positively with people ready to make changes and improvements; however, if nothing is set in stone, then it’s unlikely that any real changes will occur. Prevent this from happening by having management meet more than once until written policies are in place that encourage employee engagement. Engagement has to be a top priority of all managers or it will be neglected. Before these meetings take place, analyze the people skills of each manager. If you feel that some managers are lacking in their skills, take the time to work with them one-on-one so they can be active in helping you shape a realistic policy that is likely to work once it’s enacted.
Follow these six steps to improve your people skills and increase employee engagement:
1) Be Aware that Building Trust Takes Times
You and the rest of management must understand that trust is never built instantly. It takes time, so take it one day at a time.
2) Exude Honesty
Do you best to always tell the truth to your employees. Sometimes the truth hurts, but so does appearing weak and spineless. Your employees will respect you for always being truthful and honest.
3) Take a Step Back Sometimes
You can’t be too aggressive with trying to increase employee engagement. It build naturally over time. Sometimes it’s more effective to give your employees a little space than it is to be constantly standing over the, trying to develop trust quickly.
4) Apply Consistency
Your employees will be more likely to respect you if you are consistent with them. Do your best to not run too hot or cold. A lack of consistency in a business setting can quickly lead to chaos. And that’s the last thing you want.
5) Be An Example
You know how you want your employees to behave; so, take the initiative and
exemplify that behavior daily. It would be hypocritical to do otherwise.
6) Ensure Everyone is Being Held Accountable
Accountability is crucial to the success of any business. Not only should your
employees be held accountable, so too, should everyone in management. Accountability will ensure that everyone is being treated the same way, which will be valued by your employees.
As a leader, you have to take initiative to ensure you and others in management are utilizing effective people skills to increase employee engagement. Don’t make this more complicated than it has to be. Simply just do all you can to ensure that there’s mutual trust and understanding in every department of your organization. Don’t just move forward as a leader, move forward as a team.