How do I start getting employees more involved?

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Answered by: Sarah, An Expert in the Leadership Category
In todays the saturated labor market, it is easy to find employees, but getting them involved in the organization can be tough. However, an employee that feels involved in day-to-day business is more likely to feel happier in his or her position, be more loyal to the company, and produce higher quality work. So just how do you get employees more involved in company decisions?

One way is to increase communication with them. Suggestion boxes are a great way to do this. Suggestion boxes work best when they are anonymous, and when all suggestions are recognized; even if it is a simple explanation as to why the suggestion is not feasible . If an employer does not address every suggestion then participation will taper, and efforts will be futile. Another way to gain feedback from employees and get them involved is, to conduct employee surveys. These surveys should ask probing questions that invite employees to give feedback rather then just bubble in a meaningless "strongly agree." A final way to open communication is to simply talk to employees. The best way to do this in a formal way is to have annual reviews. During these reviews it should be understood that not just the employee is being evaluated. Just as employees are told what they can do better, employees should be invited to tell managers what improvements they would like to see. Eventually, getting employees involved by opening the lines of communication will cause the company culture to shift to one that values feedback. When this occurs, employees will start to naturally feel more inclined to be involved.

Another method of getting employees more involved, is to allow them to self-manage. Nobody likes being micro-managed, or even hearing suggestions as to where their priorities should be. So, some companies are allowing employees to manage themselves. This simply means that the employee decides what he or she should do with his or her day. Employees are also not held to a rigid 9-5 schedule. Instead, if they need to get off early one day they simply inform their co-workers rather then having to gain permission from several managers. This not only decreases stress, but it allows employees to feel as though they have a work-life balance. It is important with the self-mangement system that employees are well aware that they are not an island. Help is just around the corner if they should need it, and discussing ideas with co-workers is encouraged. Allowing employees to work in this way automatically encourages them to be more involved in day-to-day operations.

There are many other ways to get employee involved, but most of them, like the ones above, emphasize communication and trust. As an employer it is required that you listen to employee feedback and trust them to handle their own work-days. If this is done, the company culture will shift, and getting employees more involved won't be as hard. The next time they are asked for feedback they will willing give it because managers will have proven that they value it. So have a little faith, try a little more hands-off guidance, and you may be surprised at how willing people are to step up and be involved.

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