For as long as I have been in the profession, HR teams have always known that employee engagement can significantly impact an organization's success. It’s not a novel concept that a highly engaged workforce fosters productivity, innovation, and overall growth. However, what is harder for HR to articulate to the business is how to recognize and leverage the micro engagement opportunities that happen every day in the workplace.
And I’m not referring to all the ways we can deliver good news to people. Much like other relationships, the ongoing health of the employer-employee relationship is dictated by the daily communication in everyday work. In fact, they resemble what a good client relationship should look like. These small yet impactful interactions can positively influence the employee experience and commitment to the team.
In this blog, we will explore various micro engagement communication strategies and how they can build a better culture.
5 Micro Engagement Opportunities in the Workplace
1. Show Gratitude and Publicly Recognize Small Acts
Learn the skill of identifying and articulating specific contributions that made a difference, even if they are small. This is about being observant and paying attention. Noticing that someone pulled an all-nighter to get something done, recognizing quick turn arounds, or expressing public gratitude when you tasked them with additional responsibilities are all good examples of celebrating the building blocks of big accomplishments.
When managers make people feel seen regularly and unexpectedly, it is a powerful way to boost their confidence in themselves. Of course, celebrating big accomplishments is great, but it can at times feel rehearsed. Recognizing people with the small things builds their trust on your ability to observe their performance, day in and day out, and makes them want to listen.
2. Ask Their Opinion
Want to build inclusivity and be authentic? Ask people what they think, about anything. It can be as simple as “Hey, Donna, what do you think about the new Marvel movie?” Sure, asking their thoughts about a new initiative or how to solve a work problem is an even better topic, but the act itself is a sign of respect. My recent boss was great at this, and it created a space where diversity of thought was commonplace. It made me feel like my opinion mattered, and some of my best work came from him simply asking “Hey, Mary, what do you think about….?”
3. Review Wins AND Losses
Great managers are passionate about both. It may take discipline and time, but it gives people the opportunity to learn what good looks like and how to correct errors in the future - two factors which fuel high performance.
4. Keep 1:1 Meetings
It sounds basic, but I once had a tenured boss who frequently cancelled or rescheduled our 1:1 meetings, typically with very little notice. In my first 6 months on the job, she only kept two of our regularly scheduled touchpoints. I didn’t complain for fear of coming across as needy, but it certainly felt like I was left to my own devices or that I was being set up to fail. I later heard several of the people who worked for her had the same problem. Needless to say, she was the worst boss I ever had. If you want people to value your leadership, respect their time as much as yours.
5. Know the Names of the Significant People in Their Lives
When your employee tells you about what they did over the weekend, do you rush through and move on to business talk? Or do you pay attention to the names and places? Jot them down in your Outlook contacts or phone notes if you need to. Knowing these things will help you engage meaningfully and build real relationships with your team. For many people, this could also include the names of their pets!
Start Having Better Conversations
Micro engagement opportunities play a vital role in creating a highly engaged workforce. By helping leaders practice simple communication behaviors that recognize everyday achievements, foster authentic feedback, build trust, create confidence, and promote social connections, HR professionals can help organizations enhance the employee experience and contribute to organizational success. High performance and high engagement are possible when we treat employees as customers and as people.
A Talent Marketing agency like Roger West can help you craft HR Communications and Engagement Campaigns that are relevant, employee-centric, and human. We combine tenured HR knowledge with deep marketing expertise to help our clients execute their Talent Strategy and build employment brands they can be proud of. Let’s talk!