How to Engage Your Team for Better Project Performance

Employee engagement is a problem for many organizations, even if they don’t realize it. According to a recent study by Gallup, only 36% of employees in the United States are engaged in their workplace. Furthermore, 15% of U.S. employees are actively disengaged from their jobs. When employees aren’t engaged with their jobs, they don’t perform as well. This can appear in a number of areas, whether it’s making more mistakes, poorer customer relations, a lack of creativity, missed deadlines and more.

As a result, it’s important that you seek ways to better engage your project teams. Luckily, there are some simple strategies you can use that should boost team engagement no matter what type of business or organization you have. Below are a few methods to try with your project team.

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Ask for Feedback

A great place to start is by asking for feedback from your employees. Learn what they like about their jobs, what they dislike, and what suggestions they have for improvements. Often, your employees can point out an issue that you may not even have been aware of. But some employees are hesitant about raising the issue unless they are asked for feedback.

Learning more about your employees is at the heart of employee engagement. There are several approaches you can take to accomplish this. One way is to send out a simple survey asking questions about their experience working for you. Another option is to schedule one-on-one meetings with employees to gain more in-depth insight into how you can improve engagement. It’s important to ask for feedback both before and after you implement changes designed to improve engagement, as this can tell you if your changes are effective.

Provide Them With the Right Tools

Next, it’s much easier for employees to feel engaged with their jobs if they have the right tools. Without the right tools, simple tasks can become more frustrating. The more time an employee spends frustrated with simple tasks, the more likely they are to grow disengaged with their work. Look for tools that you can provide your employees that will make their jobs easier, such as project management software, communication tools, or in-house equipment.
For example, let’s say your team currently uses Jira as its project management software. After talking with your team, you discover that they’re spending too much time trying to communicate quick messages about project updates. To fix this, you can implement a Jira Slack integration. Now your team can use Slack to talk throughout the day about the project, while quickly sharing project updates directly within the app. This is just one example of how better tools can make things easier for your team so that they waste less time on simple tasks.

Create a Communication Plan

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Sometimes, teams don’t engage with one another because they are not sure how and when to do so. For example, they may fail to provide other team members with timely updates, which results in frustrated feelings throughout the team. One solution to this is creating a communication plan.

With a communication plan, you map out exactly how your team should communicate with one another and any stakeholders. It details which software tools they should use, what sort of updates to provide, who and when to update them. This takes all of the guesswork out of communication and helps hold everyone accountable. If you think that poor communication is harming your team engagement levels, then outlining the communication protocols in a simple document can go a long way towards improving things.

Make Your Projects Fun

Finally, look for ways to make your team projects more fun. Team members are much more likely to stay engaged with their work if they are enjoying what they’re doing. There are several strategies you can use to make your projects more fun.

For example, you can host internal competitions. Let’s say you’re working on a software project. You could have your coding teamwork on different features of the project, with the first team to complete their feature winning a prize. You can also reward the entire team if they complete a project ahead of schedule or if they receive strong feedback from a client.

Another possibility is to find fun tasks unrelated to the project, such as team-bonding events or office games. Sometimes short breaks from your work to have fun with your coworkers can help rejuvenate your employees and keep them engaged. Look for ways to add a little fun to your projects and even if they take time away from work, you’ll likely find that the boost in productivity and engagement makes them worth it.

Start Engaging Your Project Teams

The benefits you can receive from engaged employees are too strong to ignore. To receive these benefits, like better productivity and higher employee retention, you need to implement better engagement strategies as soon as you can. 

These strategies can often take some time to show results but are worth it in the end. Hopefully, the above strategies will help you get started, and that before long you find you have a more engaged project team.

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