How to Improve Employee Engagement: Talk Progress

Part 11 of the Employee Engagement Series

When was the last time you had a chance to speak to your manager about your progress? And I’m not just talking about a formal performance review or appraisal process here, but a simple conversation between employee and employer. Can you remember? I can. I had one this morning. The leadership at Click Boarding touches base with each employee on a weekly to monthly basis depending on the size of the team and employee preferences. Apparently, I’m really really lucky. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace only 3 in 10 U.S. employees say that they’ve have had a conversation about their progress at work in the last 6 months.

30%. In 6 months. That’s so disappointing. Employees thrive on feedback. They need to know what’s expected of them, how they stack up to those expectations, and what they can do to improve. Feedback allows employees and employers to connect when things are going well and realign before things go south. Feedback on performance and employee progress doesn’t need to be formal to be effective, but employers in the U.S. aren’t providing nearly enough between annual performance reviews. So how can we change?

  1. Check in with employees regularly. Informal one on one conversations are a phenomenal way to check in with employees, and show them that someone cares. Find a time that works best for them (whether that be weekly, monthly, or quarterly), and ask questions like the ones below to gauge how the employee is doing before talking about their performance.
    • What are your goals/ are you making good progress towards achieving them?
    • How is your workload? Are things a little light right now, are you swamped, or is everything going alright?
      • Pro tip: If employees are consistently feeling overworked, performance and overall engagement is going to drop. If things are consistently on the light side, they might be ready to take on more responsibility.
    • How are things with the team?
    • Do you have the right tools, materials, or information to do your job well?
    • What’s your biggest roadblock, and what can I do to help?
  2. Clearly define expectations for their role and their team. It’s hard to expect employees to perform well if they don’t know what we actually expect them to do.
    • Expectations include, but are not limited to: explicit and implicit job functions, standard working hours, team and community participation, and quality of work.
  3. Track employee performance. The information gathered during both formal and informal meetings will allow managers to gauge employee engagement levels, help determine who’s ready for more responsibility, pinpoint common pain points and allow room for improvement.

Essentially, we should be communicating with employees openly and honestly as often as we can about their progress within the company. Providing feedback allows employees to see where they fit, how they're doing, and how they can improve.

Hopefully this blog will help you tackle the 11th element of engagement. Stay tuned for number 12!

 

Other Ways to Improve Employee Engagement…

  1. Start with Expectations
  2. Focus on Productivity  
  3. Allow Employees to Do their Best Work
  4. Give Praise
  5. Show You Care
  6. Encourage Development
  7. Make their Opinions Count
  8. Make the Mission Clear
  9. Focus on Quality
  10. Find Good Friends

 

Available as a complimentary download:

Infographic: The Impact of an Unengaged Employee

Infographic: 21 Tactics to Engage New Hires

Report: State of the American Workplace report

 

Kathy Moening

Written by Kathy Moening

Kathy is a marketing manager at Click Boarding and directly responsible for brand, web, events and communications. She helps drive company growth through integrated sales and marketing programs that boost brand awareness and generate revenue opportunities.



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