We are most enthusiastic when we are doing something we love. When this happens, it does not seem like work. In fact, hours can pass and we are not aware because we are so engrossed in whatever we are doing.
This attitude does not apply to work often enough. That is because many view their place of employment as work and not as a place to fulfill their passions and ideas. This is a result of disengaged employees.
Employees who are not engaged – who go through the motions every day and just do their jobs like robots – are not employees you want at your organization. That is because disengaged employees have, in a sense, given up.
These are the people who might have been excited when they first learned about the job, the company and its mission. But over time, they have less enthusiasm. This is not their fault entirely. The blame also lies with leadership who do not engage their employees.
Surveys have shown that an astounding number of employees are disengaged. According to Gallup, only 13% of workers around the globe are engaged and the most likely reason given for an employee quitting his or her job is the immediate supervisor.
Engaged employees are fully aware of the company’s mission and they take ownership of it. They are passionate about their work and make that very mission their own. The look forward to coming to work and are loyal to the cause.
So what can be done to improve employee engagement? First, the importance of listening cannot be overstated. Truly listening to employees – without distractions or interruptions – will allow you to recognize the issue of disengagement. You can determine what exactly is causing your team to lose the zeal it once had.
Listening also demonstrates to people that you care and want to improve things for them. When employees really feel that management has their back, then they will be very loyal and willing to go the extra mile.
Next, workers need clear direction from leadership. Then they know what is expected of them and should be aware of the organization’s mission. If someone does not know the company’s main mission, then they can’t be expected to perform adequately. This leads to complete disengagement.
Taking the time in the beginning to ensure new employees are on the same page as the company demonstrates that leaders care to the extent that they want their workers to excel in whatever they do.
Match employee strengths to specific tasks. Just because an employee was hired to fill one position does not mean that he or she cannot accomplish something that is seemingly out of their purview.
Give ownership to employees. For example, if someone is having problems completing a task it might be easy for you to just do it for them. But, this has negative consequences because rather than having the employee figure out the issue them self and learning along the way, someone has just done their work for them.
A better way would be to discuss the issue and offer advice on how the employee can accomplish the task. This way, the employee will feel a sense of accomplishment once the assignment is complete.
Finally, make it clear that your door is always open if an employee has a problem with his or her position. It could be possible that the job they were hired for is not an ideal fit. If someone is doing a job they feel unqualified for or one that they don’t like, they will surely be disengaged.
It is too easy for employees to become disengaged and this type of attitude spreads easily to other people. Why not take the time to get to know and engage your people so that a lack of interest does not become a major headache down the road?
Weaver, Thinker, Doer