As nice as pizza at lunch, casual dress, or bring your pet to work days are—they don’t engage employees for long. The impact of such engagement is fleeting; it seldom creates long term motivation. Sure, pizza puts a smile on most anyone’s face, but it doesn’t make them more dedicated employees. The key to employee engagement isn’t doing things for them it’s doing things with them—involving them.

Most Employees just want to be Treated like People

To understand how employees want to be engaged you first have to stop thinking of them as employees and look at them as people. When the question becomes, “How do people want to be engaged?” it opens the mind to new possibilities. People want to be talked to—not at. They want to be listened to—not ignored. They want to be more than a number—they want to know they matter. They want to be treated…like people—not a commodity.

4 keys to Engaging your Team

1.) People want to be part of something

  • Share more than what to do, and how to do it, share why.
  • Don’t be a BISS (Because I Said So) manager.
  • Explain your purpose.
  • Tell employees about the organization’s vision and mission.
  • Talk about the history of the organization.

2.) People want to know they belong

  • Engage teammates by asking questions.
  • Seek teammate’s advice.
  • Be available—listen.
  • Make them feel welcome and integral to the success of the team.

3.) People want to do meaningful work

  • Explain the importance of your teams work as a group and individually.
  • Talk about how their work affects other departments and the entire organization.
  • Share their positive impact on the organizations image.
  • Explain how important the team is to customer service.

4.) People don’t want to feel insignificant

  • Tell them what they do matters and explain why it does.
  • Share and give recognition.
  • Create a cathedral—a positive work environment where no negatives are allowed, but leave the door open so teammates can vent to you in private.

Are you an Engaging Leader? 

Employee engagement isn’t brain surgery. It’s not that hard to figure out. People want to feel important and know they’re needed in every aspect of their life—including work. If you want to engage employees, you must talk with them, not at them, ask for their help not demand their obedience, tell them why, not just what, and let them know they are important. What do you do to engage your team?