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Recently I have been lucky enough to chat with Richard Maloney, Founder & CEO of Engage and Grow. We’re exploring a hot topic that’s becoming a crucial problem in the current business climate: Why employee engagement is critical for business success.

A Shift in the Employer-Employee Dynamic

As the generations evolve, the business world continues to change as a result. For today’s millennials, training and leadership ideas that were once considered the mainstream way of thinking have since become outdated in the workplace. By challenging the norm with new attitudes and expectations, it’s safe to say that young minds now have a powerful influence over the traditional employer-employee dynamic. Coupled with the fact that employee engagement is now a $450 billion problem – change can only be a good thing.

Introducing Engage and Grow

Richard Maloney is one entrepreneur who understands the importance of employee engagement to its core. In the last three years alone, Richard has expanded his training company “Engage and Grow” from 1 to 84 countries. Richard continues to coach SMEs on crucial issues that include: employee motivation, productivity and relationship building in the workplace.

So how can fellow entrepreneurs tackle this growing problem?

Communication is Crucial in Business

The way people communicate has changed dramatically over the decades. Hence, companies usually run into problems whenever there is a clash in the leadership dynamic. The hierarchical structure has started to disappear, and different employee age groups are gradually learning to be more respectful of one another. The next step business owners should focus on is building a highly activated workforce.

Embrace Change

According to Deloitte, traditional employee and leadership training methods have become outdated and unsuccessful. While some companies continue to try activities such as team building days and personality profiling, these stale methods are no longer sufficient. What’s worse, forced scenarios can leave employees feeling even more disengaged.

Learn How to Activate Disengaged Employees

Whichever way you look at it, employee engagement affects all organisations on some level. Research proves that as few as 13% of employees worldwide go the extra mile on a typical workday, and this percentage is lower still in the UK at just 8%. Over time, it’s this ‘bare minimum’ approach that often causes the most damage to the health of any business.

The way to tackle this problem is to continuously (but carefully) push employees out of their comfort zone and let them experience real growth and change. The ultimate goal for SMEs is to crack high levels of communication, quality and transparency so that unity and trust-building start to happen naturally.

Modern Leadership Training Makes All the Difference

For business owners, staying in control while getting people to engage at work is one of the biggest challenges right now. Studies show that companies who focus their leadership skills on putting people first and profits second are eight times more successful over ten years.

So what is the real role of leadership? As a business leader, your part is to help heal any dysfunctional relationships within your company. By activating people in their hearts and minds, you have the power to increase productivity, retain talented employees. You’ll fuel your profits each quarter, so it’s critical to invest in the right leadership training.

Employee Engagement Action Steps: 

Finding new ways to activate employees is perhaps the most critical pain point that SMEs need to address. With this in mind, here are some of Richard Maloney’s golden tips for how to kickstart employee engagement.

#1 Dedicate time to reconnect with your current employees.  With a little encouragement and gradual training, these people could potentially become real assets to your business in just three months. A practical and useful approach is to follow the SPEED rating. This simple exercise is highly effective and helps many business owners figure out how to build employee rapport. Relationship building is a proven success strategy for business owners looking to retain the most loyal and talented employees. And as a leader, remember that it’s not how much you know, but how much you care.

#2 Don’t suffer in silence. When it comes to leadership, it’s worth bringing in an expert from an outside perspective who can go in, sit down one-to-one. The expert can discuss how to generate the best results and traction for your company’s employee engagement.

#3 Remember the heart and brain correlation. You have to lead through the heart, and the brain will gradually start to repair itself. Many of today’s top business leaders use this simple yet exceptionally neurologically analogy.

The Take-Home Message 

It’s time to switch things up if you’re changing your workforce as often as needed and you’re finding that traditional leadership approaches just aren’t working anymore. For instance, if you recognise that 40-50% of your employees are actively disengaged at work, you don’t have to go through the motions alone – there is always another path.

If you’d like to know more about how you can get your people to become more actively engaged, get in touch.

And remember the reality is, failing to learn is learning to fail. 

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