Conscious Leadership Scenario:
Disengaged employees are not lost causes. If you employ just one or two of the tactics I’ve listed below; you will stand a far greater chance of developing a staff base that is emotionally engaged, creative, and unafraid to make their voices heard- and that’s a very good place to be.
At Worldwide Manufacturing Inc., the dollar is the most valued sign of an employee’s contribution to the bottom line. The company is focused on numbers when it assesses performance. “If he’s bringing in new business or saving us money somehow, then he deserves a reward,” is a general opinion. What management fails to account for are the contributions of other employees to the “moneymakers” overall team. If the senior executive team didn’t silo knowledge, the employees would have a clearer understanding of who is contributing to the success of the company and how each person is a key contributor to the company’s overall success.
What is the company leadership’s greatest fear? Most organizations are more focused on losing their biggest client or not acquiring the big account. A new competitor emerging in the market. Being bought out by a bigger fish?
While all of these are valid concerns, organizations need to be on the lookout for something a little closer to home that could cost them hundreds of billions of dollars each year: their own disengaged employees.
Negative Affect on Culture and Organizational Performance:
Decreased Productivity: Research shows that disengaged employees are less likely to work hard, feel motivated, or meet expectations for their role, and they cause 60% more errors and defects in work performance. In fact, 73% of actively disengaged employees are on the lookout for new jobs or opportunities.
Negative Customer Experiences: A disengaged workforce directly impacts the customer experience in a negative way. Companies with average or below-average customer experience scores boast only 49% of their employee base as being highly engaged in their roles.
A Decrease in Morale and Company Culture: Company culture and employee engagement have a symbiotic relationship. 75% of employees agree that workplace culture has a direct correlation to their on-the-job engagement.
Failed Corporate Goals: 71% of senior executives and business leaders believe that employee engagement is integral to achieving organizational success. It’s clear to them that an engaged workforce leads to improved productivity and performance, as well as increased motivation. Without employee engagement, corporate milestones won’t be achieved.
Conscious Leadership Solution:
Engagement within the workplace has always been hard to quantify. Breaking down the barriers of knowledge sharing and gaining team member’s trust will expand the transparency needed to re-engage your team and set course to achieve your goals.
I have detailed some guaranteed quick-tips below to instantly start re-engaging your team members.
1) Talk less (My Personal Favorite): Disengaged employees often have plenty of potentials, but don’t feel that their voices are being heard. They may have a point; how often do you encourage feedback in open forums, such as office meetings?
2) Don’t Play the Numbers Game in Review Meetings: There’s nothing more soul-destroying for both the manager and employee, than using a scorecard to grade performance within the workplace. “I scored myself an eight for this one,” says the employee. “Ah, well, I thought you were more of a three,” says the manager. Ouch.
3) Set Goals Together: If an employee has lost their focus in the workplace, you can always refocus their attention by introducing a deadline for a project. They may simply be floating through the organization without purpose, and by setting goals together, you’ll gain buy-in from them and provide something tangible to work towards.
4) Say “Thank You” (Lost Art): An oldie, but a goodie. Think back to the times you cherished the most at work. There’s a good chance they’ll have followed a particular win or success that resulted in high praise from those above you. The win doesn’t have to be particularly groundbreaking, but by saying “thank you” for achievements, no matter how small, you’ll be demonstrating just how much the employee means to the business. This goes a long way.
5) Let Them In On The Big Picture: A common complaint from staff members who have become disengaged is that they don’t know what’s going on above their heads. The strategy and direction for the business may be entirely unknown to them and while they may not require detailed knowledge on cash flow performance, understanding the top end goals for which the business is aiming will help them re-engage. Holding regular staff meetings is a great way to give everyone an insight into the decisions that are being made at the board level. Unveil the important details and give every member of staff the opportunity to have their say.
6) Create A Culture of Opportunity: Work shouldn’t be boring, but boredom is one of the biggest culprits behind employee disengagement. It usually stems from being stuck in the same daily routine that rarely – if ever – changes. Mix up the working days of staff by occasionally sending them out on client visits or introducing times during the week where they are set free to work on extracurricular projects that are related to the business, but which are entire of their own making. Offer opportunities at every turn and employees will soon come back on side.
7) Set Clear Expectations: Employees who are left to their own devices, unless motivated by going solo, will quickly become disengaged – particularly if there are no clear expectations set or definitions of success. Communicate the expectations you have for employees regularly, but make sure you let them decide how to meet those expectations.
8) Share All News (Good and Bad): It’s important that staff on all branches of the company tree can hear every piece of news related to the business. Good news will aid their engagement, while the bad stuff will remind everyone that difficult subjects are not taboos; the bad news isn’t simply swept under the carpet (a common source of frustration for disengaged employees).
9) Encourage Problem Solving: Front-line staff are capable of brilliant problem-solving. Unfortunately, such creativity is often hampered by the processes they have to go through in order to resolve customer complaints or unusual requests. If a chain of command has to be queried before a solution can be delivered, the employees dealing directly with customers will quickly tire of the red tape and their engagement will suffer. Encourage problem-solving on the front line and regularly reward those who show particular ingenuity.
10) Praise Mistakes: How do we learn? We make mistakes. While some mistakes are best left in the school classroom, most that are made in the workplace are absolutely inevitable. There’s nothing more uninspiring as an employee than being disciplined for making a mistake. Management should embrace mistakes and continually remind staff that they’re allowed to make them.
So, at Thomas & Taylor Partners, we are here to help. For us, our purpose is leadership for a better world, and we are here to help you in showing up as the leader you need to be. We are here to support you globally. We are on this journey together. This is an invitation; an invitation to join us in creating a collaborative movement: the movement that is leadership for a better world.