A Gallup study, released in June 2013, on the State of the American Workplace reported that 70% of American workers are disengaged in their jobs. A whopping 7 out of every 10 workers in the USA is showing up to collect a paycheck but has otherwise checked out of their job. Workers today are disconnected, tuned out, turned off, and not engaged. As a leader, it’s up to you to turn that around.
According to WE, The Story of Engagement at Work, published in 2012, disenfranchised workers cost America in excess of $350 billion a year, and the level of disenfranchised workers is only growing with each passing year.
Here are five effective ways to foster employee engagement and reduce the costly burden of employees who are placeholders and paycheck keepers.It’s Up to YOU!
#1 Be Yourself
I don’t mean the act you show up in every day, I mean your real self. Your employees, your management, you team want to know that you are a real human being with all the imperfections that entails. They need to know that your role is one that is complex, challenging, occasionally painful, often heartwarming, bottom line boosting, and overall a position you are engaged with. Often workers are disenfranchised because their leadership is sharing the same feeling. Prove that you aren’t.
#2 Invite Communication
This is not about some sort of hidden suggestion box, but instead a dialogue that you create with online tools that promotes open communication between your employees and the C-suite. Some of the best ideas are going to come from your employees, not your management. They are in the trenches of production, or delivering services to your customers every day. Open up channels that are meaningful, relevant, respectful, and deliberate.
#3 Get to Know Your Team
Regardless of how large your company is, you need to know as much as possible about the people that work for you. I don’t mean their skills, talents, work experience and anything else you’d find on their resume, I mean who they are as individuals? Are they married, single, divorced or widowed? Do they have children? Do they hang out at the soccer field on Saturday? Are they caring for an aging parent? Do they love to cook Italian on Wednesday night for the weekly potluck with the neighbors? Yes, it all matters and it is what makes them unique, one-of-a-kind individuals well beyond a mere title or number in your organization. Your team needs to follow your lead and get to know their people, and so on down the line.
#4 Admit Your Mistakes
Remember you are human too, not infallible. Yes, being the leader does carry with it greater expectations, perfection shouldn’t be one of them. All leaders from Richard Branson of Virgin Group to Howard Schultz of Starbucks and everyone in between have made mistakes. What matters is whether you try to conceal them, ignore them, dodge them by pinning them on someone else, or you step up and claim responsibility, and thereby pave the way for a solution, and claim your place as an authentic leader of integrity.
#5 Say Thank You
Recognition is one of the most powerful ways to foster engagement at every level of an organization. And, it can be as simple as “thank you.” Whether this is done publically in a ceremony that then appears in trade and consumer publications or it is a private email or personal note is less important, than the act of gratitude. In our warp speed world, with diversity being front and center in most companies, resurrecting simple courtesies, general thoughtfulness, and genuine kindness in noticing and appreciating another goes a long way.
Leadership can be an impossible job when you think you have to be superman or superwoman to do it. On the flip side, when you lead with being the unique, talented, experienced human being that you are, you have the opportunity to become memorable and magnetic empowering those around you to become leaders in their own right.
SHARE IN COMMENTS, how you engage your employees or tales of disengagement that you’ve seen or experienced! Dialogue leads to SOLUTIONS . . .