4 Ways to Use a 'Social Mindset' and Boost Employee Engagement
There is no such thing as employee-engagement "quick fixes." In spite of what employers may be led to believe that they can accomplish using trendy workplace hacks, engagement is an issue that sits differently with each individual on a team.
Therefore, disengaged workforces continue to be a major issue in companies worldwide.
In fact, according to the February 2017 State of the American Workplace Gallup report, only 33 percent of U.S. employees are engaged at work, versus 70 percent of global employees.
This is where the concept of a social mindset comes in. It's not a quick fix; but it's so much better. Incorporating a social mindset is an ongoing strategy that delivers sustainable results and continues to boost employee engagement.
So, what does the term "social mindset" even mean? It's a new way of thinking that focuses on a higher social aptitude. Instead of processes, employers should be focused on developing real people driving their business results.
This mindset includes respecting everyone's opinions, focusing on inclusion and investing in individual growth. True employee engagement comes from taking actions that engage employees in their daily tasks, not from programs and processes that aim to force engagement.
Check out these four ways to use a social mindset to boost employee engagement:
Clarify employees' purpose within the company.
Most employee-engagement programs are narrowly focused on trying to generate engagement, but employers should recognize that a more holistic approach exists.
True employee engagement starts when employers are clear about each employee's purpose and help those employees clarify it themselves.
The first step is simple enough -- enable employees to define their purpose as they learn and grow.
Encourage autonomy and collaborative problem-solving within each team. Inspire each person to speak up and take on tasks and projects he or she is best suited for. This allows employees to define their own purpose and pursue passions outside their job titles, which is crucial for a small company's success.
Collaboration not only plays a major part in enabling employees to define their purpose, but also to see how their performance impacts the entire organization. Inspire and nurture a collaborative atmosphere, encouraging team members to work together to make decisions.
The best way to get everyone to come together is by reducing the layers of upper management and creating a more horizontal approach.
In other words, leadership should be on the front lines, working side by side with lower-level employees and asking for feedback on all issues, no matter what the company's size.
Leaders should also give employees space to problem-solve. This gives them the chance to become more independent and even take on more leadership roles.
Align empowerment through seamless communication.
A social mindset thrives on transparency and seamless communication, and technology plays a big part in connecting employees directly.
These tools are perfect for boosting meaningful employee engagement. They enable clear communication and keep employees aligned in a simple way.
Pay attention to how your workforce communicates, and train leaders on how to better guide their teams in building relationships and working together to find solutions.
Leadership should also proactively offer ongoing reviews. Provide honest feedback to staff, but be willing to accept an honest response.
For example, pay attention to an employee's reaction after you've offered constructive criticism. How well did each person receive it? What was the response? Then, have leadership take note of this, to cater to each employee's communication style in the future.
Trust will be built when managers are sensitive to an employee's individuality. As a result, employees will be more engaged and likely to shake off the negativity once they know someone has their back.
Use social learning to encourage growth.
A social mindset favors social learning, which consists of people learning from one another, via observation, imitation and modeling.
Encourage staffers to share their work, get feedback, align their practices and learn from their experiences. Employees learn best when they learn together, which is why it's important to create an environment where employees work "out loud."
First, conduct a survey using Doodle, where employees vote on topics they're interested in learning. The results help management schedule social-learning days, where the most voted topics are taught by the "subject experts."
Assign presentations to employees who have a particular skill they can teach. Start employee groups, where staff members can form teams around a topic they share an interest in.
Then, involve these groups in organizing weekly or monthly days dedicated to social learning. Allow it to be a fun and casual atmosphere where staffers are encouraged to learn without dictation.
Promoting an environment where employees choose what they learn helps enhance accountability. Social learning develops a collaborative atmosphere by providing staff with tools to recognize their strengths and weaknesses.
Build an ecosystem for high performance.
Employees are more likely to maintain a high level of performance if they are allotted the freedom to take charge in areas outside of work. Offer staff the opportunity to be creative by combining their jobs with their passions. This creates an attitude of pride, ownership and responsibility.
For example, allow employees to plan a gala fund-raising event to support a worthy cause. Establish a budget, but offer staffers the freedom to plan an event that aligns with the company's mission and values.
If a large event isn't feasible, employees could give back on a smaller scale by organizing, say, a food drive in the community to support the local food bank.
Employees will be proud to work for a company that makes a difference in the world, and their pride will be evident through their productivity. Social mindset means everyone can see and feel his or her individaul value, making for more engagement.