Did you know that recent studies show that 71 percent of employees are not engaged at work? Without a desire to work hard, employees cannot contribute to the team’s collaborative goals and efforts, causing the business to under perform. If employees are apathetic or disengaged with their work routine, something needs to be changed quickly. Luckily, managers can spark employee engagement through strategic leadership and positive, direct communication.

Encourage creativity

Forcing employees to follow the same outline for every task will only lead to a decrease in engagement. Employees should be tasked with work, but at the same time be encouraged to put their own touch of individuality toward the project.

Employees who are given creative freedom in the workplace are more self-driven to succeed because there’s a personal element invested in their work.

Reward hard-working employees

Consider performance-based incentives for your hard-working employees. If an employee goes above and beyond, they should be rewarded. Some managers use an employee-of-the-month program to reward hard-working employees while others use a tiered reward system. To go a step beyond that, ask your employees what reward system would be most beneficial for them (within reason, of course).

Communicate more often

Communication is a key element in any leadership role.

Communicate with your team at least once a week. Foster engagement by talking to your team about goals, next steps and exciting projects on the horizon. Your excitement will become contagious!

Look for meaningful communication opportunities. Dropping by an employee’s desk has always been a good management practice for keeping things informal and checking in. However, stay away from asking generalized questions such as, “How’s it going?” An employee likely won’t delve into the nitty gritty, so you may just receive a short response such as, “fine.”

Instead, try asking questions such as, “What obstacles are you facing this week?”

Use technology. Communication may be tailored and personalized, but everyone needs to have the same goal in mind. Use technology to keep everyone connected and on the same page.

  • Make sure your employees (especially remote employees) have mobile devices so you can communicate and collaborate as needed.
  • Use a document-sharing application, such as Google Docs, to share materials among team members.
  • Use a collaborative task management system to share and organize tasks.
  • Use a shared calendar.

Foster a personal connection

While you want to be professional with your team, keep in mind that your workers are still human. They have loved ones, celebrations and bad days like everyone else. As an employer, recognize their strengths, weaknesses and interests to better connect with them.

Even with something as simple as benefits or bonuses, communicating with employees about their own individual experience in a personalized, relevant way stands out to a remote worker.

A personal connection ultimately means that each person’s working style is different, and the management relationship should reflect that. There cannot be a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Frankly, a sophisticated leader will do this already, recognizing that everyone on the team has different skills and personalities. A strong manager already uses specific techniques to connect with individuals and motivate them to perform their best. In an environment where people feel connected, they should also feel like part of a team, even if they may be working remotely.

Empower employees

Empowering employees means developing a team of self-motivated people who own their role and provide results. This is a fundamental step in any successful business.

Employee empowerment requires a special management style which focuses on:

  • Managing goals and outcomes.
  • Giving people ownership of decision making.
  • Rewarding excellence.
  • Modeling the behaviors you wish to expand.

Improving employee engagement almost always contributes to improved performance and job satisfaction. Having and practicing these simple and effective ideas can positively transform your whole team into eager, motivated and engaged individuals.