While it may seem like a stereotype, the fact is that many IT professionals are less social and more subdued than employees in other types of positions. It’s the nature of the job — IT pros typically spend more time communicating with machines than people. However, it’s still essential to encourage engagement among your tech team, and help them feel more invested in the company.
Why engagement matters
Employee engagement can make a tremendous difference in productivity, quality, and employee satisfaction. But it’s important to understand that engagement is not just keeping your IT employees happy. Engaged employees are actively involved in their work and the company — they have well-defined roles, make significant contributions, and progress continually in personal and professional development.
Gallup has been tracking employee engagement since 2000. In ongoing research, the polling organization has established strong connections between employee engagement and performance metrics, including:
Additionally, Gallup found that employee engagement has a more significant impact on well-being than benefits such as flexible hours and paid vacation time.
Here’s how you can encourage higher levels of engagement for your IT employees, and improve both satisfaction and productivity at your organization.
Connect individually with your team members
Everyone wants to feel valued, noticed, and appreciated at work. One of the best ways to encourage engagement is to build more individualized relationships with your IT team. Make it a point to connect with each of your team members one-on-one, even if it’s simply an occasional, informal conversation.
Engaging employees on an individual basis not only helps them feel more valued, but also gives you the opportunity to learn about the strengths and needs of your team members — so you can manage more effectively.
Focus on strengths instead of weaknesses
Professional development is an important factor in employee engagement — but rather than trying to improve your IT employees’ weaknesses, focus on emphasizing their strengths. Helping employees build on strengths through training and increased activity can boost engagement significantly.
In fact, according to Gallup’s research, emphasizing your employees’ strong points can virtually eliminate active disengagement. Employees who use their strengths daily are six times more likely to be engaged at work.
Set realistic goals and explain the impact
Every team and organization will have large, overarching goals — but it can be difficult for employees to see the bigger picture. In order to help your employees feel more engaged, break larger organizational goals down into daily targets, and explain how these smaller goals will help achieve the company’s overall strategy.
Employees want to feel as though they’re contributing to the success of the company. Giving your team details about how their work is making a difference can boost engagement and help them look forward to completing tasks and projects — even the more mundane work.
Engaged employees are happier, more productive, and motivated to deliver consistent, higher quality work. Take steps to engage your IT team on a daily basis, and you’ll realize powerful results.
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