To be engaged at work, people need to feel connected – to their role, their colleagues, their manager, the organisation and its goals.

Employee engagement goes beyond job satisfaction – it’s an employees’ willingness to invest their discretionary effort in the success of the organisation.

It’s not simply motivation. It’s something the employee has to offer: it can’t be ‘required’ as part of the employment contract.

Here’s 5 Tips to engage your employees – so they want to ‘go that extra mile’:

1. The 3:1 rule

Your people want to know that their efforts are noticed, valued and appreciated. Practice the 3:1 rule. Look to praise your people 3 times more than you criticise them. Remember the things that get rewarded, get repeated!

Shift your approach to catching your people doing things right – rather than catching them doing things wrong!

“Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They're just more engaged at work.” – Tom Rath

2. Play to strengths

Play to your people’s strengths rather than just focussing on their weaknesses. Try as you might, you will never turn a person’s weakness into a strength – at best they’ll only ever become ‘average’ at this.

Instead, focus your time and effort on recognising the unique talents that every person has. Then find opportunities to allow them to play to these – and give them the chance to do what they do best, as often as they can.

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.”

– Marilyn vos Savant

3. Communicate

COMMUNICATION – the 13 letters that trip up so many managers!

As a boss, your job is all about communication. Your people want (and need) to know what’s going on, what’s ahead and what’s new. Communicate regularly and openly – even if there’s nothing new to say – then simply communicate this.

Communicate face-to-face as much as possible – don’t hide behind impersonal emails or notice boards. Get out there and speak with your people in their world.

And remember… effective communication is two-way – it’s just as vital to ask and listen.

“The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”

– Sydney J. Harris

4. Believe

Do your people live up to their potential – or down to your expectations of them?

Trust in your people to be brilliant and to achieve great things. Let your belief shine out through your actions. Whether you think they can or think they can’t – you’ll probably be right!

Your role is to create heroes in every role – not try to be one!

“Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better.” – Bill Bradley

5. Get specific

Be specific and precise. Set crystal clear goals and expectations with all your people.

Focus on these two critical aspects of their work:

Many managers fail to get the best from their people – because they fail to be specific about what they want and expect.

“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realise I should have been more specific.” – Lily Tomlin

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