You don’t need to cite the countless studies about employee engagement to know that it is an essential ingredient to the success of any childcare service. Engaged employees bring enthusiasm, passion and energy to the work they do and voluntarily invest time, effort and initiative to contribute. Not only are engaged employees more motivated and committed, they are also high performers who produce better results for both customers and the centre.
But before you jump head first into employee engagement strategies and initiatives, you first need to identify the cause of engagement loss by seeking feedback from your employees about how they feel about their roles. This can be conducted by a formalised survey of staff morale, information gathering sessions and/or one-on-one conversations between employer and employee. Some employees may feel uncomfortable discussing their unhappiness with colleagues so it is important to give employees a suitable way of speaking their minds without fear of having it held against them.
Establishing an effective mode of communication between employer and employee is also the first step in boosting employee engagement. If employers take a proactive position in addressing the issues around employee engagement, this can deliver a positive impact on morale immediately as employees will feel listened, even if solutions addressing these issues may take time to introduce.
Communication between employer and employee shouldn’t stop there. Encouragement and acknowledgement can also go a long way in boosting employee engagement. A simple acknowledgement of a job well done and a sincere “thank you” can really bring a positive impact on employees. If employees are recognised and perhaps even rewarded for their good efforts regularly, employees are more motivated to give their best as you are demonstrating your awareness of their good performance. Additionally, while pay and benefits work well as motivating factors, consider providing incentives for higher performance to give employees something extra to strive for on a day-to-day basis.
In the same vein, another way to boost employee engagement is helping employees find meaning in their work. Again, this could be something as simple as providing quality service to families or supporting their fellow educators. By effectively communicating how your employees’ daily efforts contribute to the service’s mission or successes, employees may view their work as something more than just a daily grind towards the next pay cheque.
All this of course would not be nearly as effective if you as an employer do not lead by example. Inspiring leadership is one of the most effective employee engagement strategies any business can deploy. If employees do not see employers demonstrating the characteristics and behaviours employees are being asked to display, any other strategy wouldn’t be as effective as it could be.
Boosting employee engagement involves constant improvement and communication, so it should go without saying that any strategies implemented need to be revisited and reassessed, to see if they were implemented successfully and whether they have achieved the desired goal. Employers should ask employees for their feedback regularly to further improve any strategies in place in order to keep employee engagement with services on the rise.