Driving Employee Engagement Step One – Just Smile

Today I’m sharing a deeper look at Step One of the employee engagement process described in 4 Things You’re Missing to Drive Employee Engagement. Through my many years of leadership experience and engaging teams, I have seen that we are often missing important opportunities that are right in front of us, every day
Step 1 is seemingly quite simple- Smile and Say Hello. Seems easy enough, but then why is it so hard for many leaders to do? Team engagement comes down to one simple thought- employees stay because they want to and because they are connected to you or the company. Not because they have to most often, but because they want to. You may ask “How does a smile help with engagement?” To that I would say…just try it, and you’ll know. Smile and say hello to a random stranger and you see them light up, see them smile back. Smiling makes you happy, which in turn will translate to others. Next step- say “Hello” after you smile. This engages the person you are talking to- you have gone from acknowledging them with a smile to engaging them in a conversation (small conversation at that, but still a conversation).

Next steps are the true test of whether your employee is happy/engaged with being there or is going through the motions:

  • If they don’t say hello back or just give you the head nod, then you should take the signs they are giving and stop to talk to them. Ask them how they are doing, or say something like “You don’t seem like yourself today, everything ok?” Whether they open up or not, they will remember that you acknowledged what signs they were giving and stopped long enough to show care and concern for them. This action makes one more great step in building the connection with your employees and adds to their engagement.
  • If they do say hello back and with a positive spirit, you can ask them how they are doing or how their day is going. This creates a conversation with them that you can build on for future conversations, and continue adding to their engagement.

While I don’t want to make light of the engagement processes and imply that saying hello makes everything better, I do want to make it understood that it’s a process, and that this is the first and critical step. Just try it out and see the reaction you get from the person/persons you are addressing, and how easy it is to build on their reactions. If you don’t take the first step, there is nothing to build off of.

The next step we will talk about will be building on the hello/smile and actually having a conversation with your employees while being real and allowing them to be themselves.

More to come soon!

Victoria Pasquale, MBA
Connect with me on LinkedIn at Victoria Pasquale, MBA

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