Having an engagement strategy is key. As a team leader or even as a senior developer, it’s our job to make sure that there’s a plan of how we’re going to engage our team. If we don’t plan, we plan to fail. It doesn’t need to be complex, it can be a one-pager with a few bullet points covering the key areas that you need to focus on.
Collaboration and Connection.
It’s human nature to really want this with other people. As a leader, it’s our job to create those opportunities for our teams and to put in place regular cadences, events and opportunities to enable this.
Communication and Transparency.
People want regular and transparent communication. So once again, as a leader, it’s our job to create different methods that are tailored to different styles. You need to understand who’s in your team, what their individual preferred communication styles are and how you’re going to tailor those to suit everybody in your team.
Reward and Recognition.
How do you show people that they’re valued in your team? Obviously saying thank you is a nice way to do it. It’s easy. Studies show that you need an eight to one ratio, so eight pieces of positive reinforcement and thank you’s before they listen and it sinks in. Verbal praise is great but other forms are needed as well and there’s plenty of options in this space. If your team is small you can use a physical pin up board with post its saying thanks. Standard tools that your team may already use exist, like Yammer which has a “Praise” feature, and LinkedIn has a Kudos feature. There’s also online recognition apps and platforms that you can implement in your company. Monthly, quarterly and/or annual awards are another important way to recognise and reward positive results and behaviours within your team.
Rewards are less important than recognition – but if you do have the budget no one will complain if they get a voucher, movie tickets or something like that. Rewards and recognition don’t need to be expensive. The first implementation that I did, I had no budget. We created a “living the values” awards program. Every month peers would nominate each other for displaying the values of the company. And we would select a couple of winners and we’d print out a certificate and put it in a frame. It cost only about five dollars, but a year later I’d be walking around the office and I’d see people with these frames on their desks still. It meant something because it demonstrated they were recognized by the whole company.
So, it may sound a little bit silly, but it really does mean a lot to people. This is just an easy example of what I’m talking about as a leader. You don’t need to be the one to do all these things yourself, but it is our job to set a plan and to make sure that areas of the engagement strategy are all covered.
Once you have a strong foundational culture, you can begin to grow your team without any concerns about culture dilution.
Connect with Donna Edwards our Employee Engagement Specialist to create a better workplace with teams don’t just survive but thrive.