9 Easy Ways to Master Employee Engagement

Managers are busy…managing things. Assuming you’re a manager, after you’ve finished all of your own tasks and workload (if that’s possible), you probably don’t have much time left. By focusing on “engagement drivers” you can lead and inspire your employees to become a motivated and engaged team with very little time investment on your part.

According to Preparing For: Nine Minutes on Monday, Skills for Mastering the Art of Employee Engagement, a training facilitated by Mary Jane Umberger and inspired by James Robbins’ book Nine Minutes on Monday, there are nine ways employee needs can be met in order to fully engage employees in their jobs. These engagement drivers help create empowered, effective, dedicated employees.

  1. Care: Employees want to be treated as more than a number. In larger companies this can be as simple as knowing each employee on a first name basis and a little about their family.
  2. Mastery: Employees need clear goals and consistent feedback in order to be challenged and feel a sense of achievement in their job. This could be something as informal as a quick check-in once a week or a more formal documented meeting.
  3. Recognition: An employee feels valued when his/her achievements and work are recognized. Recognition is proven to be one of the best methods of improving work motivation. An easy way to implement this is a bulletin board in the employee break room where achievements are posted on a regular basis.
  4. Purpose: Employees want to know that they are making a difference, both in the company and for the clients they are serving. Ask employees to write down their job inspiration and post the answers as a reminder. Help them understand how the work they’re doing impacts other people’s lives.
  5. Autonomy: Giving employees freedom to make choices when possible, and seeking their input and ideas gives a sense of responsibility. Having an open door policy for suggestions is an easy way to make employees feel heard and take ownership of their work. An employee is much more likely to work hard on an idea they helped develop.
  6. Grow: Encourage personal development through clarifying an area of growth and providing the employee with coaching and feedback. This can be a way to help an employee learn a new work-specific skill or improve upon their soft skill set.
  7. Connect: Everyone values good relationships both in and out of the workplace. Connecting to employees with positive behaviors helps increase “stickiness” to the company. This can be done by promoting engagement and teamwork.
  8. Play: Allowing space for fun activities fosters team spirit and morale. It also decreases negativity and stress. Examples of this could be a monthly potluck lunch, an after work sports team, or a holiday cookie exchange.
  9. Model: It is important for employees to see positive behaviors modeled by their leaders. Management sets the tone for the workday and company. Positivity in management gives employees a sense of security and inspiration. In other words, leaders should always come to work with a smile on their face.

Each of these engagement drivers is a quick, simple way to recognize employees. According to Nine Minutes on Monday, one minute of recognition equals 100 minutes of initiative. In other words, taking one minute to tell an employee they are doing something well will in turn make that employee more productive for 100 minutes. That is a great return on time investment.

How do you engage your employees? Start a conversation with us on Facebook!

For more information visit http://jamesrobbins.com/nine-minutes.

A special thanks to Mary Jane Umberger for facilitating this wonderful event. SVAM was proud to be one of the sponsors.

Encouraging Students to Choose a Career in Manufacturing

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Can you remember the first time you were asked that question and what your answer was? You probably answered police officer, fire fighter, teacher, doctor, lawyer, or veterinarian. Today’s youth also tend to answer video game designer and professional athlete.

Usually a child’s ambitions are directly correlated to what they are most exposed to, likely the career of those closest to them or something popular in the media. This gives children a very limited view of the careers that are actually available to them. In an effort to expand students’ career ideas the United Way of Southwest Virginia’s Careers Expo for Youth exposed over 4000 seventh graders to 75 regional employers, highlighting 16 different career paths. The timing of the event wasn’t coincidental. These 7th grade students attended the Expo just prior to taking their career assessments as required by the Virginia Department of Education, meaning they’ll have a much better understanding of career options and interests, and a realistic picture of the path they should take to match their passion with skill. Students start making their career choices in seventh grade so they can be on the right track in high school, choosing the classes that will lead them to the postsecondary option that is right for them. They meet with counselors to make an education plan based on their personal ability, interests, and achievements.

SVAM and the SVAM-CoE were excited to be a platinum sponsor of United Way’s event. During the Expo we interacted with over 500 students, giving them information about careers in manufacturing and allowing them to watch a virtual reality tour of a manufacturing facility. The students were often surprised that the information we gave them didn’t match the preconceived notion they had of “factory work.” We participated because we know the benefits of reaching students at this young and impressionable age.

So…what can you do to encourage young students to choose manufacturing as a career path?

  1. Change perceptions: Many students still view manufacturing jobs as the factory work of their grandparents, associating the work with coming home at the end of the day exhausted, hot, and dirty. Students need to see how much the manufacturing environment has changed since the factories of the 80’s. How? See Points 2-4 below.
  2. Encourage Job Shadowing: If you work in manufacturing suggest a “Bring Your Child to Work” day. Not all facilities or occupations are appropriate for this, but if yours is it can be an eye opening experience for a student to see the wide variety of careers available in one facility. Another option would be to partner with your local schools and let them know of your availability to host students who may want to job shadow.
  3. Provide tours: SVAM has partnered with manufacturers and school systems to provide local educators and students with insight into the reality of manufacturing as it is today, versus outdated perceptions, and help those in education make connections between classroom learning and potential careers. If you work for a manufacturing company, there are many opportunities to open your doors and show the community the incredible things that your company is doing. Contact SVAM to let us know if you’d like to participate in one of our upcoming tours.
  4. Talk about your career: If you have a career in manufacturing, there’s a reason. Maybe you love the work you do or maybe the best part is knowing you are earning a steady income with good benefits. Regardless of the reason, share what you love- on social media, at the dinner table, during the family reunion. Share it with your kids, their friends, your nieces and nephews, and, especially, their parents since we all know parents play a huge role in how children determine their career path.
  5. Teach the children in your life that there is more than one path to success. Some people want a desk job. Some people like working with their hands. Some people want something in-between. Kids need to know that all of those opportunities are possible and attainable, and that one isn’t necessarily better than the other. They also need to know that their dream may not require a traditional 4-year college track. Help them understand what their path may look like by researching with them.

With 80% of manufacturing workers falling into the 45-65 age range there will be a huge demand for qualified workers over the next decade. Manufacturing needs new, young talent with skills to match its high tech demands. Through personal stories, programs like SVAM’s #madeinswva tours and United Way’s Career Expo, we have an opportunity to start recruiting this talent at a very young age.