Businessman Jumping Over Up Arrow Sign CloudThe statistic is out and employee engagement is down. Like, 50 million disengaged American employees down. Studies (and common sense) have proven disengaged employees aren’t as productive as their more satisfied colleagues. Similar to those of us who are hoping for a new, easy weight-loss miracle, companies are scrambling to find an answer to the abundance of unhappy employees.

If you happen to be one of those frantic employers, Author Dan Pontefract may have unearthed the quickest way to win the hearts of all your employees. What’s his answer? Make a connection!

Sounds simple, right? Similar to getting new clients, placing a job ad and meeting with interested applicants, keeping your employees happy and present could very well lie in leadership. This may sound harsh, but 75 percent of people aren’t quitting the job – they’re quitting the boss or manager.

Bottom line: If you want your workforce to be present, you need to be engaged.

Here are five quick ways you can improve employee engagement and satisfaction right now.

1. Ask for opinions.

Pontefract was in awe of a bookstore’s management when he observed the store leader not only huddle the team together for a brief meeting before the day, but would also ask what his employee’s thought of displays and furniture arrangement.

They were simple questions, but they probably meant so much to the team dynamic. Instead of coming to work prepared for direction, employees arrived ready to provide feedback, and in turn, hear feedback.

EXTRA CREDIT: At your monthly or weekly meeting, make it a habit to ask how everyone is doing with projects. It may not be instant, but eventually employees will feel more open to sharing what they are having trouble with. And encourage success sharing, too! Starting or ending a week/month with a positive message can never hurt morale.

2. Be genuinely interested.

Sometimes when emails are piling and phones are ringing, it’s hard to remember your employees might need attention. When you’re feeling your fingers cramp and eyes cross around midmorning, get your stretch by visiting nearby employees. Simply asking how their work is going may inspire dialog that will not only provide insight to struggles your coworkers have, but also direct them to better approach future tasks.

EXTRA CREDIT: Start remembering the names of your employees’ spouses, how many children they have or a weekend plan. If you can personalize your conversations, you sound even more genuine. Plus, you might realize you have more in common with the coworkers you haven’t yet connected with.

3. Realize the Bonus could be Acknowledgement.

Think back to when you were in school and placed in a group project. It was so hard to feel like the work was being evenly distributed, but when the teacher or professor pointed out your part of the deliverable as a great addition, it was hard not to feel like all the frustration was worth it. The same goes for offices. Employees notice when they’re being treated the same as their not-1so-motivated colleagues and that makes it hard to want to strive to be better.

EXTRA CREDIT: It sounds cheesy, I know, but simply being told that hard work has been noticed can be a huge boost to an employee’s productivity. The best part is that it takes little to no approval from higher ups. In fact, genuine attention from senior-level management is one of the top 10 motivators in employee engagement.

Employee engagement has become quite the buzz term, but it’s hard to ignore such a large factor in the productivity of your team. This is especially true when things could improve drastically if only leadership would do some self-reflection. Ask yourself at the end of the day, would you work for you?

What do you and your team do to stay motivated?

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