Help employees connect with their work & workplace
Are the employees that you manage “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to” their work and their workplace?
That’s how a Gallup Poll defines “employee engagement.” Its surveys have found that just a third of U.S. employees are fully engaged in their jobs. These are people who love the work, enjoy the team, contribute ideas and believe in the mission.
At the other end, 16% of workers are “actively disengaged” in their work. They are miserable and seem to only enjoy tearing down what the engaged employees are creating.
The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged or disengaged—they’re just there.
Managers play a huge role in influencing the employee experience and, by extension, employee engagement.
“The goal is to get the heart, the head and the hands of the employee all engaged in the job,” says leadership consultant Dr. Marcy Fetzer, a professor at BYU’s Marriott School of Business.
Road map to engagement: 8 steps
You don’t need to be a mind reader to figure out how to get your employees more engaged. A recent study that asked employees about their workplace and manager relationship provides this 8-step road map:
1. Get to know your employees. Engaged employees respond more favorably to the statement, “My supervisor cares about me.”
2. Provide training and direction. Engaged employees respond more favorably to the statements, “I have received the training I need to do a quality job,” and “I have a very clear idea of my job responsibilities.”
3. Develop your people. Engaged employees respond more favorably to the statement, “My supervisor takes an active interest in my skills and career development.”
4. Recognize your employees. Engaged employees respond more favorably to the statement, “I’m satisfied with the recognition I receive for doing a good job.”
5. Encourage teamwork. Engaged employees respond more favorably to the statement, “People in my department work together as a team.”
6. Build a customer-focused team. Engaged workers respond favorably to the statement, “My co-workers are dedicated to providing exceptional service to our clients/customers.”
7. Give feedback. Engaged employees respond more favorably to the statement, “My supervisor gives me regular coaching and feedback.”
8. Act on feedback. Engaged employees respond more favorably to the statement, “Management takes action based on survey results.”
Stop the slide
Don’t wait to act until a worker flips the disengagement switch. Keep your eyes open for signs of disengagement: Employees stop offering suggestions, contribute less in meetings, hesitate to volunteer for projects and make less eye contact. Breaks are a little longer. Absenteeism increases, along with criticism of the organization.
Talk to the employee in the early stages. Say, “I’ve noticed a change in your performance and I’m wondering what’s contributing to it.” Stress that you want the employee to succeed.