You may be one of those successful, highly effective types who bound into the office on a Monday morning full of excitement and inspiration, ready to join an equally supercharged and hungry team. Good for you! You probably don’t need to read any further; you’re already golden.
But given an 87 percent staff disengagement rate, it’s likely that many of you preside over a workforce that moves between active disengagement and good, old-fashioned regular disengagement — painful as this may be to admit to yourself. If this sounds like you, then you may want to read on.
I just came across an interesting study from the Answers Corporation that does more than simply document disengagement: it actually provides a forensic analysis of the common reasons for disengagement, making it an excellent diagnostic tool. Best of all, the study provides some insight into what can be done to improve engagement levels in your firm to help you bring smiles back to your staff’s faces on Monday mornings. I have summarized this advice below:
1. Listen to Staff
One of the key findings was that employers are, quite simply, not listening to staff. This is worrying, given the fact that engagement surveys are one of the most often recommended tools for addressing disengagement. Just 54 percent of employees have participated in an engagement survey, and mere 15 percent say that action was taken as a result of this survey.
This clearly documented failure to listen is likely to be a key cause of disengagement. If employers really want to address engagements levels, they need to be brave, do the survey, and listen to what employees have to say. It may make for some painful listening, but it’s the first step toward making your staff smile again
2. Don’t Leave Staff to Sink or Swim
The sink-or-swim approach to training and development is, not surprisingly, another key cause of disengagement. Staff who didn’t receive training had a 52 percent satisfaction score, compared to a 72 percent score for those who had received formal training.
Remember: training doesn’t have to be expensive; it may be possible to turn some of your most talented staff members into formal trainers and mentors.
3. Bring More Focus on the Squeezed Middle
Organizations can spend a disproportionate amount of time either pleasing and appeasing the highly engaged (27 percent) or disciplining/holding the hands of the less engaged (28 percent) at the expense of those with average engagement levels (46 percent), who are often left to steer themselves. You may get a greater return on investment by focusing on those employees who fall in the middle range of engagement, rather than slapping the backs of the engaged and over-nurturing the disengaged.
4. Actually Show That You Care About Their Careers
Forty-eight percent of workers don’t feel like their employer understands their career goals. This is a key cause of disengagement, as it increases the chance of the employee’s job turning into a dead-end job — if it hasn’t already.
Managers need to do career-development planning with all staff members at least once a year, which will give them a clear view of their employees’ goals, strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. Armed with this knowledge, managers can constantly work with employees to help them reach their career goals. Neglecting an employee’s career ambitions is an almost guaranteed route to disengagement.
5. Don’t Leave Staff Without a Vision
There’s nothing worse than sitting in a dead-end job at a dead-end company that doesn’t have an exciting vision, focus, or ambition. We all want to be inspired; without inspiration, we grow bored and disengaged. According to the Answers study, giving employees a long-term vision to rally around is one of the top three staff motivators and positive drivers of employee engagement.
What other techniques have you adopted that have helped you to raise or simply sustain engagement levels in your firm? I’d love to hear some of the tried-and-tested techniques that you have used to engage and motivate your staff to make them excited about coming into work on a Monday morning.