Last year at our firm’s strategic planning, it was brought to light that a lack of engagement amongst my team was one of the top things holding us back from reaching our full potential as a practice group. 70% of those on the management team agreed it was our number one problem.
While it would have been easy to brush that aside and only worry about tackling more objective goals for the year, we decided this was too important to let go and we worked to come up with an action plan to increase team engagement. We developed a Team Engagement Task Force to help us carry out this action plan, and through my work on this task force I have come to see just how vital engaged team members are to the success of our practice group and our firm. Here are some of my key takeaways from serving on the task force.
Team members need to believe in our mission.
At HORNE, our mission is “Creating value and making a difference.” Engaged team members see their work as more than just a job. They make that connection that what they are doing matters and is a part of our mission. One of the actions we set out to achieve this year was to boost our team member engagement, by taking the time to explain the “why.” By doing so, we are fostering that connection and giving team members a deeper meaning for what they do.
Management must lead the way in reflecting our mission and values.
As the old saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” If we want an engaged team, then we have to reflect “creating value and making a difference” not only with our clients but also internally amongst our team. We cannot expect to make any strides with initiatives or get team member involvement if there is not “buy-in” from leadership. Because of this, we made it a priority that all managers and partners set a goal around team engagement. We also committed as a group to attend performance advisor training, post our Guides to Working with Me (a self-completed profile displaying personal feedback preferences), and make a conscious effort to be intentional with feedback. These are just some of the examples of ways we are trying to show our team that we care about this firm and about them individually.
Team members need to believe they have the skills to do their jobs and that they are valued.
We worked to develop an infographic on Growing an Engaged Team. At the foundation of an engaged team member is the idea that one needs “to know what is expected of them at work and to have the resources to perform their jobs.” We can help our team members meet this foundation by setting clear expectations with them, checking in with them frequently, and making sure they are getting the training and feedback they need to perform their job. But, it doesn’t stop there. To continue to grow that engagement, we have to let team members know they are valued by seeking their input, learning their passions and working to create opportunities around that. We also focus not only on their technical development but also their careers and professional development as a whole.
So why does having an engaged team matter, anyway? Statistics have shown over and over again that companies with engaged team members are more productive, provide higher quality work, and have higher client satisfaction. In addition, highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts, according to a study done by the Corporate Leadership Council. The study also found that companies with highly engaged employees grow revenues up to 3x faster than their competitors. The list could go on, but I think you get the idea—engaged employees are a powerful force.
So with that in mind, have you checked your own engagement levels lately? What are you doing to help keep your team engaged? With so many great possibilities at hand, we all must make increasing team engagement a priority. I have already seen positive changes in my team since we set our team engagement goal, and I cannot wait to see where the future takes us as we put more of our plans into action.
About the Author
Laura is a manager in healthcare services at HORNE LLP focused on reimbursement and advisory services. Her positive energy and forward thinking encourage and engage her team, and push us all to reach our full potential.