This is the fourth and final article in a four-part blog series by guest author Marnie E. Green (@MarnieGreen) – Principal Consultant at Management Education Group, Inc. In this post, Marnie shares key strategies public sector agencies can use to drive up employee engagement.
In my previous post in this series, I shared the reasons why public sector agencies should engage government employees in conversations about the future. However, strengthening the connections between and with your employees is also key. When employees feel connected to the organization and to their manager, they experience greater levels of satisfaction and as a result, perform at higher levels.
Recent studies, including one from GOVERNING Exchange have noted the challenge of engaging public sector employees in our current environment. The study suggests that one strategy to boost engagement levels is to ensure that managers have the tools they need to lead their employees effectively. The most critical skill for doing so is the ability to build strong connections with employees.
Yet, managers struggle with creating these integral connections for a lot of reasons. Employees may be disenfranchised with how the organization has managed through recent fiscal crises. They may be disconnected because they haven’t been asked about critical workplace changes. They may be disengaged because no one has invited them to the table.
Conversations to engage public sector employees
Engaging employees doesn’t have to be a monumental project. To strengthen the connection with public sector employees, try these simple approaches:
1. Conduct regular one-to-one meetings. Regular, structured conversations with employees allow you to hear about their successes and challenges. A regular one-on-one touch-base meeting gives you a chance to give feedback to the employee, and it gives the employee a chance to do the same for you. Ultimately, regularly scheduled performance-related meetings build trust.
2. Use a talent management system. Integrated talent management systems help to track and monitor the communication between managers and employees. Talent management systems like Halogen’s enable employees to track their progress on goals and critical performance measures. Likewise, managers can record key performance milestones and maintain conversation records with the tool. A talent management system frees managers from the burden of keeping paper files related to performance so that they can focus on the important conversations they should be having with employees.
3. Conduct regular stay conversations. Originally defined by Beverly Kaye & Sharon Jordan-Evans in their book, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay, the stay interview is a simple conversation that allows you to learn what motivates your employees. It also conveys to the employee that you value them. Ultimately, stay interviews increase levels of employee retention and boost satisfaction.
A stay interview can:
- identify whether the employee is at risk of resigning and allow you
- to prevent their departure
- provide a snap shot of the employee’s level of satisfaction
- identify factors preventing the employee from performing at their best
- alert you to any issues or potential problems that are brewing
- give you valuable insight into overall staff morale
Creating and fostering connections with employees is the key to creating an engaged workforce. Connections are created one conversation at a time. Boost the conversation and connection skills of managers throughout your agency and you’ll drive employee engagement levels higher.
Register now: Webinar: Employee Engagement in Government
On November 1st I’ll be leading a webinar on how to increase employee engagement in government. I invite you to register now to learn more.
About Marnie E. Green
Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Management Education Group, Inc. and author of Painless Performance Evaluations and the soon to be released book, Painless Performance Conversations (Wiley, 2013).