As much as employee engagement is essential for all work, its importance increases when employees are grouped to work on a project. As a project manager, you cannot master project management until you manage engagement between your project team members. You may be satisfied with your team members simply getting their job done.
But employee engagement is about more than helping them be productive. Engaged employees get their job done actively, meaning that they perform tasks better, smarter, and more effective way. Engaged employees continuously progress in their role and contribute to the project success and company growth. Open communication and engagement between project team members can also most definitely lead to project success.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some employee engagement tips that can enhance your project management skills and help you achieve your professional goals as a project manager:
Become a Good Example
Your project team members will only be as willing to engage or communicate with other team members as you. As a project manager, you must realize that employee engagement begins with you.
If you want your team members to pitch in ideas to improve a project, you have to be present at brainstorming sessions and come up with ideas yourself. Similarly, if you want your project team members to ask thorough questions, you have to come up with some questions yourself.
In short, the most important employee engagement tip is to become an engaged employee yourself.
Don’t Be Too Stern
Strict managers and bosses who only see team members as drones discourage employees and negatively impact their engagement and productivity. If you don’t care about your team members personally, they won’t get personally involved with work either.
However, if you show them that you care about them as individuals and as humans and understand their humanely needs, they will do their best to impress you with their professionalism.
By getting involved with your project team members personally, you can also learn about their internal motivators and interests. You can use this knowledge to assign them tasks that they can carry out more efficiently than others.
Set Realistic Goals
While your project team members may not react or retaliate over unrealistic project goals, their engagement levels might drop. Hence, as you apply various employee engagement tips to improve your team members’ engagement and productivity, don’t sign them up for more work than they can handle.
As a project manager, you should have a day-to-day plan for the project. This plan should also include daily achievable tasks and goals for all project team members. Make the plan in writing and share it with the team, so it’s easier for everyone to keep track of their daily tasks and the overall project.
Connect with Team Members Individually
Many project managers connect with their entire team to get progress reports and inform them of the upcoming plan. These project managers also expect team members to connect to solve any issues with their work.
While the above-explained strategy does get the job done, it plays no part in encouraging employee engagement. One of the most important employee engagement tips is that project managers should connect with each employee individually. Besides knowing the personal motivators and interests of your team members, connecting with them allows them to connect with you too.
A good professional relationship between a manager and team members can benefit both professionally by increasing their engagement at work and helping them feel more confident in their abilities.
Acknowledge and Reward Efforts
Rewarding project team members is one of the most useful engagement tips that you can apply. Rewarding project team members helps them feel acknowledged for their hard work and abilities and is essential to motivate them to improve themselves professionally.
It also motivates them to find new and better ways to get their work done smartly and efficiently. Project team members who are rewarded also feel motivated to work hard and get acknowledged for their contribution.
But rewarding only the most efficient employees can also backfire at times. As a project manager, you should acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of all your team members while appreciating the hardest workers a little more than others.
Promote Team Members
Verbal or monetary rewards are not enough to keep engagement levels high among project team members in the long run. Project team members can feel discouraged if a new resource is hired to preside over their work.
They stop believing in any words of acknowledgments and appreciation. Moreover, many team members can also look for other jobs as they can see the organization as a place that doesn’t offer career progression.
As a project manager, you can ensure the above scenario doesn’t take place by recommending your team members for promotions. Keeping track of project team members’ achievements can be significantly helpful at such a time. Limit hiring new employees for internships or entry-level positions and promote existing team members to higher positions.
Emphasize Engagement for New Hires
New hires are most impressionable, and increasing their engagement levels is easier than old team members. Pay attention to your new team members and make some effort to increase their engagement levels from day one. Keeping them engaged in the beginning can help keep their engagement levels high throughout their career.
You can assign an experienced team member as their mentor or mentor new hires yourself. Let new hires know that they can freely ask for help and guidance from other team members. It will also help strengthen team bonding and encourage teamwork between other members.
Finally, providing specific and constructive feedback and being available for help can help your project team members feel engaged with work. All the above engagement tips can be useless if you don’t communicate the project needs and goals correctly with the team members. However, keep a balance between being available and entrusting your team members. A project manager’s attitude is always contagious, be it positive or negative.