Are you looking for techniques to engage your employees more? Providing excellent training and well-researched information to your employees is not enough. Engaging your employees requires more than strong determination and willpower. It requires psychological and strategic insights on what will truly drive a person to transform their everyday behaviour. Here is a list of proven techniques for employee engagement.
Technique #1: Start small.
Choose an area you want to focus on like water usage, energy use, or recycling of office materials. Make a specific campaign to change the particular behaviour of your employees toward these causes. Once you become successful, search for other ways to tackle similar behaviors to take advantage of the momentum. Accumulated small measureable accomplishments will create positive psychological momentum. As a result, you can create a positive culture, going to other crucial sustainability programs and pursued behaviors compared to just flashing lofty rhetoric and feel-good company slogans.
Here is a sample scenario.
A manufacturing company would like to establish a new and ambitious sustainability program for their employees.
First approach: The human resource department releases an email blast to all employees in all departments that contains a list of required behaviors to be executed immediately. There will also be consequences for those who will not participate and cooperate with this new mandate. The HRD reinforces the announcement through posting placards and signs all over the workplace. After a few weeks, nothing has changed. Employees are still nailed to their old bad habits.
Second approach: The HRD decides to simplify the new behaviors they would like to expect from the employees. They focus on one concrete goal — to reduce the use of disposable paper cups. So they come up with a “design your own mug program” contest for the best DIY mug design and provide incentives and prizes. The activity is fun and makes the employees participate. The concept of saving and costing of resources was implemented in a subtle way. As a result, it was a huge success and a builder of momentum that kicked off other related programs.
Technique #2: Empathize with those who do not believe.
The number one rule in creating campaigns to inspire your employees to change their behaviours is to empathize with them. Empathy means you are able to understand, feel, and see the world from the vantage point of other people. However, this is a challenging task, especially if you are leading sustainability efforts inside big corporations from all over the world. Accept the fact that people who push for sustainability efforts have distinct core values, belief patterns, and thinking styles from other people. There are sustainability leaders who create strategies and campaigns that suit only their perspective than those of their target participants.
For instance, the vision of a company is to remove the telephones in each employee’s cubicle. For someone who relies heavily on communicating with their clients or colleagues, not being able to use the telephone will be devastating. The best activity to foster employee engagement is to do a role-play and an “exchange of roles” activity. In this exercise, both parties will understand the meaning and goal of the vision from the perspective of another person’s role in the organization.
Technique #3: Make the activity enjoyable and fun in order to encourage employee engagement.
Accept the fact that most employees would rather stay overtime to finish their tasks for the day rather than think about systematic issues in their operations. As a result, more and more employees will ignore or resist any change mandated by the company. If you are trying to inspire changes in your employee’s behavior, make it fun to make it easier for them to go along.
For instance, you want your employees to be part of the preparation of the annual anniversary party. You also want the theme of the party to come from the employees. To encourage employee engagement, create a brainstorming contest for the theme wherein the most number of votes will be the anniversary theme, and the one who thought of the idea will get a prize.