While employee engagement was once thought of as just another “buzzword” or HR trend, it’s now a must. Organizations large and small are realizing the importance of engaging their employees at work for improved productivity and a better working environment. In fact, employee engagement in the US has increased to a high of 34% according to a 2018 Gallup report. So what’s next?
Activating your employees.
The trend toward more engaged employees is a positive one, but with pretty much every organization having an employee engagement program in place, you’ll need to take things up a notch to become a business that employees truly feel passionate about working for.
Employee activation is this next step up. Activated employees are not only fulfilled and happy at work, but they’ve developed a true relationship with your organization and a passion for the work they do.
Activated employees act as loyal and authentic brand ambassadors while striving to achieve their maximum career potential. They’re not only high achievers – unlocking your employees’ talent and giving them autonomy in their roles helps to create a more positive work environment, improves colleague relationships, and boosts your brand reputation.
These activated employees are often motivated to create and share content about your company and brand, which can be hugely beneficial for many aspects of your business including marketing, PR, HR, and sales.
So what exactly are the secrets to activating your employees?
- Employee activation is a no-brainer if you want to stand out in today’s competitive business environment.
- Empowerment, trust, and a supportive environment are the keys to employee activation.
- Implement a comprehensive employee activation program to consistently get the best out of your employees and turn them into brand ambassadors.
1. Empower Your Employees to Make Their Own Decisions
Over-management will kill off any spark of employee activation before it’s had the chance to take hold. If all main decisions are left to management and the rest of your team is left to simply carry out orders, you’ll be damaging the trust, creativity, and self-confidence of your employees.
Supportive management is hugely important for employee activation, but there’s a big difference between being supportive and being overpowering.
Empower your employees to make their own decisions and take their own risks. Giving individuals this authority, and demonstrating that you value their judgment, skills, and knowledge, can have a significant impact on the team dynamic and overall productivity.
67% of employees who feel empowered at work are willing to put in extra effort, compared to only 4% when empowerment is low.
Giving your employees autonomy over their work and allowing them to make their own decisions about managing their tasks and tackling projects gives them ownership of their work. This helps them to feel more committed to the tasks at hand. They’ll want to succeed on an emotional level rather than purely a professional basis.
2. Spark Creativity in the Workplace
Part of the benefits of working in an environment where employees are free to follow their own ideas and work in their own unique way is that creativity can flourish.
Creativity is essential for your business to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, many employees find that following the same procedures day in and day out in a corporate environment is far from stimulating.
Many of the world’s most successful businesses recognize how important creativity is for activating their employees, and so they offer special initiatives to nurture creative thinking.
Google is the poster-child for fostering a creative environment at work. As well as its innovative workplaces, Google famously allowed each employee to spend 20% of their time at work on their own passion projects in addition to their regular projects.
Most organizations don’t have the same budget and resources available as Google. But it’s still possible to create an environment that encourages creativity.
Give employees the chance to work in different environments. A simple, relaxed break area may spark ideas that would be hard to come by when stuck at a desk. Allowing the opportunity for working from home or a local coffee shop from time to time is another possibility. Allow your employees to work wherever they can focus and come up with their best ideas.
Encouraging collaboration is another very effective way to promote creativity. Mix up your teams and see what happens when individuals work with someone new. Hold regular informal meetings for brainstorming and idea generation.
3. Invest in Professional Development
Part of triggering employee activation is supporting your employees in reaching their full potential and giving them every opportunity to succeed.
To do this, you need to allocate sufficient time and resources toward staff training and professional development, and make sure each employee has the opportunity to reach his or her goals.
Improving the skills and knowledge of your employees not only helps you to grow a better team over time but it also demonstrates to each individual that you value their needs as well as the needs of the business.
According to a report by LinkedIn, 93% of employees say they would work longer for a company if it invested in their careers. Proving that you value your people will be rewarded with more loyalty, and a higher staff retention rate.
Staff development isn’t all about training them on the latest software or helping them achieve professional qualifications either. “Soft skills” such as leadership, collaboration, and time management can also have a huge impact and can really help to unlock an individual’s true potential.
4. Build a Content Sharing Culture
One of the biggest benefits of activated employees is that they will promote your company without any incentives or prompting.
However, it takes more than a positive working environment and motivated employees to trigger this content generation and sharing. Once you’ve laid the groundwork in employee engagement, it’s time to implement an employee activation program.
There are many aspects to being successful with such a program. Setting up and promoting guidelines for sharing work-related content on social media is a good start. After that, you can encourage staff-generated content by asking employees to contribute to your content marketing efforts, sharing success stories, and profiling individual employees on your marketing channels.
Getting your employees to be enthusiastic about creating and sharing content is something that will take time, but it’s well worth doing. One-third of consumers trust what an influencer says about a brand more than what the brand says about itself. However, influencer marketing is not without its issues and is not obviously applicable to every industry and market. The solution? Enable your own employees to become brand influencers. This is the true power of employee activation.
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