We get many questions about how to increase employee engagement. While we believe that giving your workforce best-in-class HR benefits is one of the best ways to satisfy many workers, another way is to find ways to motivate workers who succeed better on a team.
As a manager, spend time looking for ways to help the team function as a whole. Use part of your time for planning positive activities, such as team-building and brainstorming sessions. You should also work to identify what makes groups of people function well together. In this post, we will examine three common issues with team performance that can reduce employee engagement: problems with communication, problems with goal setting, and personality conflicts.
That Age-Old Communication Problem
Employees can be more engaged with their individual jobs if they aren't giving mental energy to serious concerns about their team. If they have picked their team members and worked together for some time, they already have a vested interest in its success. However, if they are assigned to a team that has communication problems, teamwork can often be a hassle. Some individuals would rather avoid the team altogether than resolve the group's issues.
It's quite possible that your team members don't know the best ways to communicate on different issues. Should they use email, telephone, the shared workspace, video chat, or face-to-face meetings to discuss upcoming deadlines? Give your team a list of common issues and have them discuss how to approach each one. If everyone knows their expected forms of communication, they can deal with any issues that arise quickly and effectively.
Some teams lack a common direction. You can fix many issues by helping the group to set goals. When people collaborate on projects, goal setting usually takes place at the beginning. The team must devote some time to articulating what everyone's contribution must be, in order to achieve a successful outcome. Those who choose to work independently need to make sure that their goals are still in line with what others are doing and what your customers need.
Remember, every type of goal should support the company’s mission. Your company may require employees to have SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed). This is a good system for maintaining realistic goal setting. If not, you can set goals for specific projects so that everyone knows where and how to invest their time.
Teams that fail to work harmoniously often have interpersonal conflicts setting them back. One person’s disagreement with the team can cause conflicts with everyone. For example, two employees with the same job description may decide to compete for a promotion. If they're unwilling to make decisions and personal contributions that benefit the group, they will alienate the others. The level of employee engagement for people who were formerly happy on that team will decrease. This is an example in which a manager should step in and resolve the issue, because everyone benefits from team members working in a respectful and cooperative manner.
Coordinating teams places a lot of pressure on individual managers. If you're responsible for overseeing the dynamics of work teams, you may spend a lot of time grouping people together and assigning tasks, in order to create the most productive outcomes. Some managers have more than one team, and they can clearly see which groups are performing well and getting the most done. It's a manager's job to identify each group's strengths and weaknesses. By assigning projects that play to the strengths of a certain team, a manager can get the group to accomplish more.
Teams must first address problems with communication, goal setting, and personality conflicts to achieve long-term success. For more details on employee engagement and how to resolve these issues, please contact us today.