Employee engagement is defined as “a high level of commitment employees have towards their job, manager, company, co-workers and customers”.

Aside from the increased productivity, an engaged workforce will result in a high level of teamwork, increased job satisfaction, a lower turnover rate, better customer satisfaction, employees going above and beyond their required job duties, outside-the-box thinking and a decreased need for supervision.

Here are four simple steps your organisation can take to create an atmosphere encouraging employee engagement, ultimately making you an “employer of choice”.

Step 1: Organisational trust

The first step is to create a high level of trust throughout the organisation.

Trust seems like such a simple and obvious concept, but unless a conscious effort is paid to creating trust, it will not exist.

You cannot expect trust to appear just because you are the boss. Your employees have to feel safe. They have to know you have their back, and you have their best interests at heart.

If you show that you care about them and their development, they will be willing to go the extra mile for you and the company.

As Steven Covey explained in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, your relationship with others is like an “emotional bank account”.

 To increase trust and strengthen the relationship, you have to continuously make deposits over an extended period of time by doing things for them and showing that you value them as a person.

Once trust is established, you will find it much easier to manage each employee in a way that best suits him, which in turn will create a healthy working environment.

Step 2: Empower your employees

Be a leader who empowers employees.

The traditional leadership style is that of a controlling nature, where management imposes their will on employees whom they view as objects.

This style discourages employees from taking ownership in their job, makes them reluctant to present ideas and makes it hard for them to get excited about their job or the company.

Empowering your workforce will make them feel like it is their company and they will take a strong interest in the success of the organisation.

Give your employees more responsibility, let them see a task through to completion, value their input on decisions and give them the freedom to use their mind and be creative.

The result of empowerment is a workforce of employees who will work for the company, not just for their pay cheque.

Step 3: Focus on communication

Healthy communication is the way to tie the first two steps together.

It is one thing to promote open and honest communication but it is another to show it.

By allowing your employees to confront others and their managers without fear of repercussion (or with heavy office politics in the way), you will be amazed at how many thoughts, ideas, views and helpful comments they can provide.

Remember, effective communication leads to healthy relationships.

Nobody enjoys working at a company where they don’t get along with or can’t communicate with co-workers.

Step 4: Provide effective feedback

What drives employee growth and encourages your employees to meet their goals and experience success?

The way to accomplish this is by providing consistent and effective feedback. For employees to stay engaged, they have to feel that they are moving towards something — that they are growing and doing a good job.

As Dale Carnegie said, “In our interpersonal relations, we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation. It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy.”

Feedback can have an adverse effect if it is not given properly. So make sure that you provide the feedback in a timely manner,  focus on the employee’s positives, provide him a chance to react and have all the facts before confronting him.

Employees need to know how they are doing on a regular basis or they will lose the passion to grow and develop.

Bring it all together

Apply these four simple concepts and you will drive employee growth and increase employee engagement.

Don’t make the mistake of other companies and wait for your employees to defect before you take the time to evaluate the culture you are promoting.

Establish a high level of trust, lead through empowerment, create a culture of healthy communication and provide effective and consistent feedback. Your employees will be happier and your profits will skyrocket.