Antonio Pérez Carmona
How to Engage Employees
By Elizabeth Babcock
Engaging employees is not an impossible task, but it does take the efforts of the company leaders/managers and the employees. You will hear me say many times that you cannot have engaged employees if you do not have engaged leaders because this is such an important issue to keep in mind, especially when dealing with virtual employees. It is not uncommon for managers to rarely see or to never meet their virtual employees face-to-face due to geographical displacement. So how do you engage your geographically-dispersed, virtual employees?
You, the engaged leader/manager, should start with direct and frequent communication with your virtual team. This is vital for many reasons: you need to make sure that your virtual team members feel like they are part of a team and not a forgotten entity.
You should also involve your virtual employees in making decisions and solving problems; it is not necessary for you to figure out everything yourself and then have the employees just follow orders. Ask them for their opinions and input. This will make your job less stressful and will make the employees feel like their input and ideas are important. When you get employees to help solve problems, you just might get some creative ideas that would not have occurred to you otherwise; and, the more ideas you can pool together, the more you have to choose from
This is not the only reason to encourage creativity among your team members. Engaged team members tend to be energetic and creative, which can lead them to seek out new ways to address and solve problems and can also lead to a better working environment; but they need the time, support, and tools needed to stimulate creative thinking. There are many ways to encourage creativity between both co-located and virtual team members that will work within your organization – you just need to get creative and find what will work in your particular organization.
In order to get your virtual employees to be more creative and engaged in their jobs, it is helpful to be able to identify the different behavioral types of your employees, which will help you understand what motivates them. Since each employee is unique, it is helpful to recognize the four behavioral styles to determine what motivates each employee. This will help you to determine what types of responsibilities and tasks are more suited to each employee and what will more effectively engage each one. This is where the DiSC behavioral system will help. This system looks at how we tend to behave and what motivates us in a given situation by breaking behaviors into four categories corresponding to the letters:
D (dominant) – A “D” is motivated by new opportunities and challenges
I (influence) – A “i” is motivated by recognition
S (Steadiness) – A “S” is motivated by clearly defined responsibilities and authority
C (Conscientiousness) – A “C” is motivated by logical and systematic approaches