Best Practices on How to Engage Small Work Teams

If we imagine that the company is a big boat, but the employees are its rowers, then less than a third (about 30%) are very engaged and active rowers doing their best, half are rowing but not being productive and psychologically connected to it (not engaged) and approximately 20% want to leave the boat and are looking for somewhere else to row (disengaged).

This story illustrates that employee engagement is of paramount importance to the success of a company. According to VitalSmarts, even one or two poorly performing employees can affect the success of the whole team. Furthermore, employee engagement is not an issue that needs to be addressed once but it’s an ongoing process. Therefore, this is a big challenge for both large and small work teams. Read more: The 3 Common Mistakes in Employee Engagement.

How to best engage small teams?

However, if for larger teams there are bigger budgets, great automated employee engagement tools that can be implemented, and other extras, then for small teams often a different and more personal approach is needed. To find the right approach for a particular company, you need to test different strategies, and here are some that are definitely worth trying:

Involve employees in the company’s goal-setting process

Set company goals and create a vision together by signing each employee’s individual goals under the big ones. It will make it clear to the team how they fit into the big mechanism and make sure they move forward in the same direction. Also, ask each employee to set short-term goals, such as next month’s KPIs, indicating how these tasks will affect the organization’s big goal. Employees need to be aware on a daily basis that what they do matters (even the small and, perhaps, boring tasks). In addition, if employees have clear goals, they may realize that some of the tasks don’t have that much impact to stay on their to-do list. Read more: Why Setting Goals is Important.

Give employees the tools they need

Ask employees if there are any helpful tools that would make their job easier and improve their performance (especially, if there is a tool that would be useful to the employee daily). In today’s age of technology, we need to get the most advantages of digital tools. If they are too expensive and do not fit into the budget, it is worth searching and offering employees some alternatives. It may also be some special training for employees, which can even be presented in the form of a reward for a well-done job. It is important for employees to feel that the manager is interested in helping and providing everything they need so that managers can expect a good result afterwards. Statistics show: 70% of staff would be willing to leave their current job and start a job that contributes to employee development and training (The Harris Poll).

Inspire your team

Keep reminding your team why what the company and its employees do is valuable. Read more on this topic: Unusual Ways How to Inspire Your Work Team. Look for new ideas for development and encourage employees to show initiative on what could be improved. It is also important for the manager to help employees become more efficient and educate them about how crucial it is to take care of their well-being, have work-life balance, look for ways to become more productive, and so on. A good idea is to send an inspiring quote to employees every day, for example, in a group chat, that would make them mindful, or some interesting fact/discovery related to the industry, etc.

Have Weekly Feedbacks

90% of Gen Z generation employees expect personal feedback from managers (Nintex). At the end of each week, meet with the team, where everyone can share what has been done and what difficulties the employees have encountered. This will allow employees to express themselves and managers should react accordingly. It is important that employees are regularly informed about what other team members are doing and how the company is doing overall. When the whole team is gathered together, it is also a good opportunity to express appreciation and thank colleagues for their help. In small teams, it is also worthwhile for colleagues to share feedback with each other (and this should be done in a delicate way so that no one perceives it personally and is not offended).

Celebrate every significant victory

Create a fun event to celebrate the company’s achievements and reward yourself for it. Celebrating “small victories” is what gives us satisfaction and encourages us to reach even higher. Today, remote jobs are becoming more and more common that employees generally like. However, according to an  Amerisleep study, about 80% of people who work from home say they feel isolated from others at least part of the day. Therefore, team activities will create shared memories, connection with the organization, and closer relationships with colleagues, which are so important for effective communication and employee well-being.

In small companies, it is especially important that every employee is truly captivated by the idea that the company carries, so it is important to choose employees who are “on the same wave” and ready to work with enthusiasm and grow the company bigger and bigger. If employees don’t believe in the company’s idea, then even the best engagement programs are unlikely to deliver the expected results.

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