Many companies have made significant cuts to their workforce, which almost certainly weighs heavily on their remaining employees. To get the job done, organizations tend to rely on a core group of employees whom they trust and believe in. How can you keep these individuals motivated and engaged to perform – and for how long?
According to research by the Gallup Organization, organizations with a high level of engagement report 22% higher productivity. “Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization,” said Jim Harter, phD, a chief scientist at Gallup Research.
It may be easy to write about how to engage employees, but completing the task is easier said than done! Every employee, regardless of their rank and title, receives so many messages each day that influence their mood, attitude, and work. These messages can include how the company is doing, goal achievements (or lack thereof), economic struggles, and of course, job losses and gains.
These headlines come from so many outlets: the media, family, coworkers, social networks, bosses, and the company in general. It is impossible to maintain immunity from current events that are out of your control, the highs and lows of daily life can take a toll on even the most focused of your employees. However, as a manager and boss, you do have the ability to help your employees rise above negativity by coaching them, keeping them motivated, and focused on tasks at hand. It’s crucial to remember that the absence of communication can also act as a message. The content, tone, and frequency of how you communicate with your team can have a tremendous impact on their level of engagement.
READ: 5 Elements of Successful Coaching
Don’t hide from your people
How many managers spend most or all of their time behind closed doors and away from their employees? Think about the amount of distance (literally and figuratively) between you and your employees. Read: Dangerous Business Behavior: Ignoring Employee Engagement in the Workplace.
Regardless of a jam-packed schedule, make sure you maintain a culture of dialogue with your people. As I’m sure you know, each person is different and is motivated in different ways. Rather than employing a one-size-fits-all approach, an effective manager will tailor his or her management style to illicit the best response from each employee. As a leader, manager, or boss, it is your JOB to keep the people for whom you’re responsible engaged and motivated. Recognize that when you’re feeling down and low, chances are your staff is, too. Be careful not to drive a melancholy workforce even lower by mercilessly cracking the whip. Likewise, don’t assume a posture of ignorance by hiding in your office and waiting for the sun to start shining again.
Instead, take that opportunity to talk to your employees. By listening, you’re not only showing them that you care, but you’re also receiving real-time feedback on their concerns and attitudes, which you can then use to either correct problems or find ways to motivate them. But the bottom line is that you’re engaging your people, which is most important!
If your organization is suffering from disengagement, as was found in the Gallup study, then you have major concerns which should be dealt with by senior leadership and HR. But don’t wait for that to happen. Realize that each person can influence others positively as well as negatively. Start to change your organization today by connecting with your employees, making a commitment to rise above the negative noise, and doing something positive.
Source: Profiles International.