Thoughtfully motivating and engaging employees takes a concerted and systemic approach throughout the organization. That said, there are also simple activities that also support employee engagement — make it a point to do one a day and you will see the benefits in both the short and long term.
- Say “thank you.” Be specific about what you appreciated and explicitly acknowledge the positive impact the person had.
- Listen without interrupting. Make a point to ask someone what they think about a certain topic. Listen to their responses without jumping in or judging. Thank them for their input.
- Invite someone to coffee or lunch. Invest in one-on-one time with someone: a colleague, a direct report or your boss. Don’t bring an agenda; just enjoy your time together.
- Ask about an office artifact. Many people have personal items in their work space – if you see an item like a picture or award on display, ask about it. “What a great picture! Who are those folks?” “Look like a nice award – what did you work on?”
- Forward an article or event announcement. When you see an article or event that may interest someone you work with, send it along. Include a reason for sending it to add meaning. “Last week, you mentioned your interest in XYZ….; I saw this article and it reminded me of you.”
- Ask for help. Most people want to feel both needed and appreciated. Ask for someone’s help, and explain why you are asking. “You did such a nice job with XYZ last month; I wondered if you could give me a hand, so I can learn how you approached it?” or “I really appreciate your eye for detail – could you give me a hand with XYZ?”
- Offer to help. Is someone struggling to carry too much? A simple “can I help?” can make all the difference – even if the answer is no, the person will appreciate that you noticed and asked.
- Take a break. In addition to motivating others, you also need to take care of yourself. When you are feeling stressed, or after working long stretches, take a break. Walk around the building, read something of personal interest or check in with a friend for a quick refresh.
Employee engagement is not a static state – it must be continuously renewed and refreshed. Employee engagement is also not a checklist – it takes sustained commitment and strategic investment. However, simple steps like the ones above also add meaning and value to the employee experience and help institutionalize larger organizational initiatives.