Here’s a little scary story…
It was a dark and stormy afternoon. After finishing up a conference call, Boss Williams decides to check in with an employee regarding an overdue report. Williams steps outside his office, slowly walking toward the team member’s workstation. But something’s wrong. It’s silent—no typing, no conversations.
Boss Williams looks around. Catherine has her ear buds in and is nodding off. Cameron is scrolling through his phone. Devon and Riley are staring blankly at the same computer screen.
Boss Williams stops in his tracks. He’s seen this before, back when he worked in Wichita. His entire team has transformed. They’ve become the ugly and feared… LOW ENGAGEMENT MONSTERS!
Boss Williams screams in horror.
Low Engagement Monsters Are Everywhere
Low engagement isn’t just Boss Williams’ issue. Lack of enthusiasm, low performance and emotional disconnection riddle businesses throughout our nation. A 2018 Gallup poll indicates that 53 percent of workers are “not engaged.” This means that people show up, but do nothing more than the minimum amount of work required.
Lack of connection and no loyalty translates into low productivity and low retention rates. If your employees aren’t inspired and excited about their work, they won’t be team players and will be quick to leave when they get another offer. The resulting effect? Your business will suffer.
The Cure to Low Engagement
Gallup says, “organizations that are the best in engaging their employees achieve earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors.”
That’s significant. And since we’re all motivated by the bottom line, isn’t it time to pull out your leadership chemistry set and brew up a cure for low engagement? With a few simple strategies, you can transform those unproductive monsters into dynamic team members:
Be a leader.
As John Maxwell states in his book, The Leadership Handbook, leaders should “take people where they couldn’t go on their own, inspire and equip them to do what they thought they couldn’t do, and accomplish what can only be done by a group working together. To do that, leaders should love their people and be close to them.”
Every leader should strive to be a good example and a positive influence. Be open, listen and work hand-in-hand with your employees to ensure everyone is valued and working toward the same goal.
Plant the seeds of appreciation.
When you shower gratitude on your staff, you’ll see your company’s culture bloom. And, it doesn’t need to take hours of your time!
By planting small moments of appreciation throughout each workday, you’ll quickly reap the benefits—spirits will climb, engagement will grow and productivity will flourish.
Sweet recognition goes a long way.
With little effort and minimal cash, you can show your staff you care. When they walk in the door, surprise them with a personalized treat and coffee. Have everything set up, greet them with a smile and give a short appreciation speech.
Moments like these can be overall team builders too, giving you and your staff the opportunity to check in, chat and get to know each other on a more personal level.
Put a shine on their success.
Extraordinary achievements deserve extraordinary appreciation. Once every month, chose an outstanding employee and give her/him an award. Remember: appreciation doesn’t need to be expensive, only genuine!
There’s nothing like a handwritten note to express your appreciation. When someone goes above and beyond the call of duty, make sure you recognize that success. And, don’t wait—write the note now so you don’t forget.
Quick tip: buy thank you cards in bulk to have on hand.
Put yourself in your employee’s shoes—what would it feel like if you had worked endless hours on a successful project and no one thanked you? Or how would you feel if you wanted a better work/life balance and your boss didn’t care?
According to a Washington Post article, “exponential rewards” can be gained when an organization teaches their managers to show empathy. “Empathy’s effects may be measured by how long employees keep their jobs, how well they perform and how enthusiastic they are.”
In short, learn how to be empathetic—engage your listening skills, get to know your employees and be more understanding of their needs.
The Transformation to Better Employee Engagement
Boss Williams coaxes his low engagement monsters into the conference room. He apologizes for not being more supportive. He asks the monsters for feedback. He says he needs help; that he needs them.
The next day, the monsters show signs of transformation. They’re working together, smiling, engaged and more industrious.
Boss Williams smiles. He knows it will take time. But, from here on out, he’s going to work harder to be a better leader and create a healthy workplace culture. Why? He never wants to see those dreadful low engagement monsters again.
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