How to boost employee engagement with Lean

In today’s business world, it is very important to have colleagues that you can rely on. That’s why keeping them engaged is an important thing that every leader should focus on.

Аccording to a 2017 study by Gallup of the State of the Global Workplace, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. This is a wake-up call for leaders who want to achieve and sustain business growth.

Benefits of High Employee Engagement

Have you ever gone to work and seen your team members faded with absolutely no desire to get on with their tasks for the day? A major culprit for this could be that they don’t feel involved with your company’s processes.

the cost of low employee engagement graph

On the other hand, keeping your employees engaged in the workplace will boost their productivity and thus the overall company performance. As a study from Dale Carnegie suggests, companies who have engaged teams, outperform those with less engagement by nearly 202%.

In addition to that, organizations that know how to drive employee engagement will be able to retain them for longer periods of time. Once this is done, your colleagues will become better at their jobs, which will turn them into the sought-after experts, that you have been looking for.

By this point, I hope you agree with me, that driving employee engagement in the workplace is of great significance for any business. Probably, you are now thinking: “OK, that’s great, but how do I do that?”. Maybe you’ve already tried different things and none of them have worked. Well, there is no need to despair, just keep on reading and you will find out how you can improve employee engagement with the help of Lean.

How to Drive Employee Engagement with Lean

Implementing Lean management has plenty of benefits. In addition to maximizing the value you deliver to your clients, it promotes shared leadership, which can help you boost employee engagement.

Being able to distribute higher responsibilities to different members of your team will not only shape you as an inspirational leader, but it will boost your overall performance as well. This is true, because as your employees get more engaged, they will be more motivated to continuously improve. To achieve that, you need to be aware of the drivers of employee engagement.

Create a Sense of Meaning

One of the key factors that helps boosting employee engagement within the workplace is the creation of a sense of meaning within your team. Nowadays, many company members might feel that they don’t create value with the job they are doing. This makes them demotivated to give their best, just because they don’t see any significant results from their work efforts.

To tackle this problem, you need to create an environment where everybody understands what value they bring to the end customer and seeks ways to enhance it. Furthermore, make sure that your colleagues know how to effectively eliminate wasteful activities, which will focus their attention on the most important things and increase their productivity.

Once you manage to create an environment where everybody contributes to the overall value generation, your team members will start seeing the meaning of the specific work that they perform. Therefore, the combination between this and the power of leadership will boost your employee’s engagement in the workplace, giving them the desire to come up with innovative ideas for future business growth.

Visualize the Work Process Collectively

Today there are many project managers that just set up a specific process that needs to be followed and hand it over to their team. If you are one of those people, we advise you to think twice before resuming. When your colleagues are not involved in the evolution of the work process, they will not be able to fully provide their expertise, which will leave them disengaged.

A better approach here would be to rely on the second principle of Lean, which is all about value stream mapping. If you are a leader at an organization, surely, you are familiar with every step of your process, but it is your team members who manage the day to day tasks.

Therefore, don’t you think that it might be a wiser strategy to include them in the management of the workflow? If so, how can you do that? Well, a good solution is to use Kanban boards, where you can visualize the entire workflow together with your team and break down big projects into smaller tasks that can be processed in a matter of few days.

In case you do that but also encourage your colleagues to provide their unique touch on the work process, you will be able to achieve two things at once. First, you will be driving employee engagement because you are giving them the opportunity to speak up. Second, you will be able to benefit from their expertise on specific topics.

visualize the work process

When mapping out the work process, make sure that you include your employees in it. Doing this will provide you with the opportunity to take into consideration different ideas and ultimately boost employee engagement.

Improve Team Collaboration

Having good team collaboration is another driver of employee engagement. Imagine that you have built a workflow that nobody of your team understands. Therefore, there will be an unclear structure of what the end goal is as well as lack of communication, which will make your staff feel disengaged. This is not good for you, it is not good for them either.

In order to deal with this issue, make sure that you improve team collaboration. This can be done by adopting a culture of shared leadership. Allow everybody on your team to initiate their own actions and express their original ideas freely, in front of each other and even your clients.

In addition to that, promote an open discussion between your colleagues. Give them the chance to communicate with each other with the help of daily stand-up meetings for example.

This way they will be able to brainstorm different ideas regarding your company’s day-to-day strategy in their respective areas. By doing all of these things, you will have a perfectly aligned and engaged team that works towards the completion of one common goal.

Integrate a Pull System

There are many project managers and team leaders that still rely on the so-called “push system”, where they constantly delegate tasks to their team members. You are probably thinking that there is no other way to lead your team, however, we would suggest that you think twice about that.

The more effective way of leading your team is by utilizing a “pull system”, where work is processed when there is an actual demand for it. Now, the logical question is: “OK, great, but how is this a driver of employee engagement?”. Well, it actually is.

The pull system is a central part of lean management and shared leadership. It allows your team members to focus on one thing at a time, which increases their productivity.

Furthermore, they will be able to manage their time themselves and pull work once they are finished with their current tasks. This will boost employee engagement in the work process, because they will have the chance to be their own leaders.

Also, your team members will be able to find work, without having to wait on their “boss” to micromanage them by pushing things that need to be done in their hands.

Provide Feedback

Last but definitely not least, an important driver of employee engagement in the workplace, is feedback. Imagine that you, as a project manager, fail to guide your colleagues on how they perform at their current roles.

This will contribute to the creation of a chaotic environment, where nobody knows if they are generating value with their work efforts. Therefore, your colleagues might start feeling demotivated, because they have no idea if they are contributing both to the company’s growth and their own. Of course, this will reduce their job engagement as well.

The solution to this problem lies within the power of feedback. In fact, a study from 2016, reported that 68% of employees who receive constant feedback, had better job fulfillment. Make sure that you integrate that within your workplace and thus allow the most important aspect of shared leadership, continuous improvement, to thrive.

the power of feedback

By doing this and communicating with your team members on what they did well and where they could potentially improve, you will make them feel much more engaged in the work process. In addition to that, they will start feeling that you, as their leader, actually care about their personal development. This will contribute to the improvement of their levels of productivity and motivation to always give their best for your company.

Parting Words

One of the main ways that organizations use to achieve competitive advantage is through the people that they work with. Therefore, making sure that those people are engaged in the work processes is a central part of the development of any business.

So, the question is, how can you do this? Well, by integrating a culture of shared leadership and relying on certain Lean management principles, you will be able to boost employee engagement and reap its business rewards.

Try Kanbanize for Free

One thought on “How to Boost Employee Engagement with Lean?

  1. Sam Wilson

    Studies show that only a handful of employees actually pay heed to something that doesn’t concern them or their work. So we reckon the key mustn’t be in trying to convince them otherwise; it’s in changing the rules to favor your end game. Thanks for sharing a great article.

Comments are closed.