Have you ever wonder how to improve employee engagement ?

In today’s day and age, small business owners and employers are struggling with disinterested and disengaged employees who view their jobs as a distasteful necessity. This puts the health of the company at risk.

Smart companies, on the other hand, know that a solid foundation of engaged employees is the single best starting point for building and growing a business.

Many a time, I come across many SME business owners lament that employee engagement is a “thing” only for multinational companies and bigger conglomerates. They claim this is because they have larger amounts of money spend.

I often hear this: “We are so busy trying to make ends meet and driving our business that we now have to invest to make our employees happy ?”, or “I am a small business owner, where am I to find the money to invest in cakes and doughnuts every morning to make my employees smile?”

And I often hear this: “I can’t seem to grow my business because I can’t find good people.”, “Good people nowadays is very hard to find. No experience but want high pay, and cannot do work.”, and “Why should I teach them everything I know about running the business? After they have learnt everything in 1 year, they will leave and set up another company like mine.”

And that is the challenge for most small and medium sized businesses today. Most have not yet realized that their limitations in engaging their employees (who are rather different today than 15 years ago), is their glass ceiling.

So, what is the meaning of an engaged employee? According to the Wikipedia, an “engaged employee” is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work. They will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests, which means employees need to have a vested interest in helping the business attain its goals.

At the crux of most successful employee engagement programs is an effective performance evaluation system, often systems-based, which builds this understanding and accountability into a worker’s individual goals. While most companies engage in some kind of performance evaluation, companies with the most highly engaged employees have some best practices in common.

So, how does a small and medium business build a workforce that is engaged toward its company direction?

1. Make it about Career Development.

Rather than focusing on past performance, align the evaluation more closely to the employee’s career development and future. Most SMEs do not have a clear-enough painted picture for employees, and employees are left wondering or hazy with their futures.

While previous performance shouldn’t be ignored, if employees feel that the evaluations are a real tool to help them advance or earn raises, they will be better motivated. It’s simply a human trait to be more motivated when there’s “something in it for me.”

2. Build Real and Specific GOALS.

Goals can be addressed from a standpoint of productivity and performance, as well as values and culture toward your organization. It baffles me that business owners would say to their employees that they have “bad attitudes”, during performance evaluations, and the real fact is that employees have no idea what to with that sort of feedback.

Set actual and specific goals that are simple to understand and that employees are clear with the immediate necessary actions. Ask employees to define the new and different levels of activities they should participate in (from now on) to achieve their new or existing goals. I enjoy asking my employees if they have any specific goals of their own, such as learning a new skill or achieving a certain certification, and make those part of the evaluation, and that keeps them motivated once they understand that their employers care about their personal achievements.

3. Set and agree on Measures, by involving your team in Agreements.

As the old saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so employee evaluations should measure concrete goals such as revenue generated, safety, productivity, error reduction, machinery maintenance, and resource use. Business owners usually don’t find it challenging to measure sales people because the easiest measure to collate is sales, numbers of new customers and leads. Make an agreement with you employee on what can be achieved, and define clearly how this performance will be measured.

Go check out this video of mine, 6 Impactful Ways to Motivate Your Employees. Don’t forget to Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more business insights!


Maresa Ng – Asia’s Top Business Growth Specialist

Maresa Ng is a Passionate Entrepreneur ​who helps business​ owner ​grow their business​ to a stage where it is commercial and profitable ​and can continue to work without them. Maresa has worked with thousands of business owners and she has been turning around businesses since 2008. She was a corporate and investment banker, but now she is the leading Business Growth Specialist & Business Advisor in South East Asia. She always believes, as entrepreneurs, you can have Great Quality of Life through Great Business!

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