Employee engagement is a measure of how emotionally attached a staff member is to their job, coworkers, and employer. An “engaged employee” is fully involved in and enthusiastic about their work. Your staff members that are actively engaged will work to not only meet their goals, but the organization’s goals.
Employee engagement may be challenging with a remote workforce or off-site employees. You miss the daily “How’s your day? What did you do last night?” face-to-face conversations. You don’t have an easy shared connection to discuss local events, sports teams or even the weather forecast. It’s more difficult to find out what remote employees really like, what their hobbies are, and generally just get to know them.
Not only can remote employees feel left out, but it may be more difficult for other staff to communicate with remote employees. There are actions you can take as an HR representative or remote manager to connect and make sure all your employees are feeling engaged with each other.
Encourage employees to interact with simple events and get-to-know-you activities. AgCareers.com organizes “3 Questions of the Month” for all employees. We ask everyone the same series of questions via email. We share all employee’s responses (that choose to take part) with the entire team in an email or document. This always entices fun conversations between all!
Various versions of the mantra, “To be unclear is to be unkind” have been stated by leadership gurus like Brene Brown and Dave Ramsey, and I can identify with their perspective. As leaders, we can’t ignore issues, and it doesn’t serve anyone to dance around the elephant in the room in hopes that it will magically go away. Caring about your team members means having the courage to deliver difficult feedback. They say the best friends, true friends, are the ones that care enough to tell you something you don’t want to hear…but need to hear. We all know that we need to do the right thing in addressing employee issues, but it’s a tricky recipe of timing, empathy, attitude, and the list goes on. Here are three reminders I strive to incorporate as I prepare to address an employee issue.
1. Check your attitude and assumptions.
It’s so easy to go down the path of making assumptions and weaving a storyline in our heads about the motivations (or lack of motivation) of a team member. Harboring resentment is completely unproductive when it comes to handling an issue with an employee. The key is realizing the minute we start down this path. I personally find it helps to write those negative thoughts out…literally get all of my assumptions out of my head and down on paper. That way, I have the opportunity to move all my opinions to the side and focus on the facts and desired outcomes. I love how Henry Cloud positions how we should focus feedback: “hard on the issue, soft on the person”.
It would be unheard of to make it through a career without having coworker conflict along the way. They say that you spend the most time with those you work with, so it is only natural that situations will arise. When more than one person is involved, there will be conflict. Conflict in general is just a fact of life. Now that we’ve agreed there will be conflict, what is the best way to deal with it? Perhaps flushing out what not to do first would be best.
1. Don’t stir the pot. In other words, do anything that might add to the conflict. This includes gossiping about the issue, responding in a harsh tone, showing them who’s boss, or getting back at the individual. All these responses to conflict will certainly only escalate the issue. Not to mention your superior will be judging you on your response, so keep it professional. This point also addresses any conflict you might witness while at work. Getting others bothered over someone else’s actions is never helpful.
2. Don’t keep pushing the issue aside. In most cases it would prove beneficial to address the issue instead of pushing it aside. Instead of blowing up over a small issue, deal with the small issues one by one to avoid a larger conflict. A quick conversation with those involved, will go a long way.