Employee engagement has been trending as a hot topic in 2022 as it’s come to a height with the Great Resignation. Leaders all over have struggled with the multitude of transitions between the virtual, hybrid, or just plain staying in the office world. No matter which of these roles you can relate to, one thing remains the same - it never gets easier seeing some of your employees lose interest in their jobs. But I'm here to tell you that switching gears and re-engaging with your team is a lot easier than you think.
There are three types of employees in any organization. Those who are:
- Engaged - 15%
- Not Engaged - 67%
- Actively Disengaged - 18%
Most studies point to the fact that employee engagement has a direct impact on productivity and profitability. That seems self-evident, yet many managers still struggle to define, measure and improve engagement in their teams. Understanding which of these categories those in your team align with will help in assessing each individual and doing what you can to help them develop and go on to improve their career.
Engaged employees are loyal and emotionally committed to the organization. They are in roles where they excel and where their talents are truly leveraged. They’re highly invested in their work and go above and beyond by helping in roles that are not within their job description. Employees who are not engaged can be difficult to identify because they are often relatively happy and satisfied within their position. However, they do the bare minimum and are not invested in the company’s overall mission, vision, values, or goals. As for those who are actively disengaged, we have all worked alongside them. They are consistently negative, create a toxic environment, dominate their manager’s time, and are usually vocal about their unhappiness. And because of that, they often have significant influence over others.
Being appreciative of who you lead can fill you up just as much as the recognition you can provide for them. Giving recognition on a regular basis will help you not only observe your team more closely, but pull in those who are no longer engaging. If you’ve been the recipient of a random “job well done” accolade - it turned your day around, didn’t it? Caring leaders should consistently show appreciation and gratitude toward those they lead, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it keeps your people motivated!
As always, listening is truly the heart of it all. Keep having consistent one on one meetings with your team and engage with them on employee surveys. Give your people the opportunity to speak up about how they’re feeling in their role or within the workplace culture. You will always have the room to grow and improve, and what better way to re-engage with your people than to create the change they want to see?
Lead the Whole Person
Leading others is a huge responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. Fundamentally, our people depend on us to help them see their way out of darkness, confusion, and into a place of enlightenment and light. As their leader, your job is to create a safe space for them to air their fears, questions, and concerns without any judgement. Meet them where they are at and always have your door open.
Mentoring is a huge way of letting your employees know you don’t expect them to remain stagnant in their careers. It increases employee satisfaction and assists in developing your people into successful professionals, while also providing psychological support. Employees who have access to these developmental opportunities tend to stay within your organization longer, thus increasing retention and keeping your best talent.
These strategies for improving engagement aren’t complex, they simply must be prioritized. Leaders that make employee engagement a central part of their core strategy take a different approach. They incorporate aspects of engagement into all elements of their employee experience so that each feeds into and compliments the other. As we still make our way through tough times, lean into your people and don’t leave them on the back burner.