by Marcia Zidle, Featured Contributor
IN THE STATE of the American Workplace, Gallup’s recent research on employee engagement indicates that 16% of the workers are actively disengaged. This means that on average, 16% of the people in your company aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Those are your Vampires.
Another 55% are not engaged. In other words, they are checked out, putting in time but not energy or passion their work. They are your Seat Warmers. Finally, 29% are really into what they are doing. They drive innovation and move the company forward. They are your Cheerleaders.
Gallup research suggested one major factor that makes all the difference in employee engagement. They found that supervisors play a crucial role in worker well-being and engagement. I’m sure you’ve heard the common saying, “People join companies but they leave managers.” Unfortunately it’s a reality in many companies.
In a recent webinar for Train HR, I presented 10 Smart Engagement Strategies for managers to boost employee engagement. Here are the top five:
1. Walk around!
Though an old practice that dates back decades, the idea of managing by walking around has several timeless benefits. You’ll know more about your operations and your people. You’ll see firsthand what’s working and what isn’t. And you’ll very quickly find out the level of engagement of your workers.
2. Provide flexibility.
No two people are the same or work in exactly the same way. Engagement can suffer if people are required to follow a specific way of working which may not be optimum for them. Determine what tasks you can adapt that will help employees get their job done in new and proven ways.
3. View employees as an asset.
Treat your team members as an investment instead of a commodity or merely a production source. Like any asset, your employees will grow as you add more resources to support them. When you create a nurturing workplace that fosters meaning and mastery, your team will pay you back tenfold with their engagement and productivity.
4. Manage, but don’t micromanage.
Most employees don’t like their managers breathing down their neck. Distinguish the difference between checking in and checking up on your employees. Also, when managing, don’t dictate every detail of how to complete a project. Remember, employees can’t grow and gain new skills if you’re telling them exactly what to do for every assignment. They need a sense of autonomy to feel that they’re succeeding.
5. Give people honest feedback.
It’s a human phenomenon: When someone is doing really well and you reinforce it with positive feedback, good performance becomes even better. People need to be seen and recognized — and not just once a year in a typically brief performance review. They need to hear what you think of their work often, with candor. When people aren’t meeting expectations, let them know that, too, so that they have a chance to improve. Don’t let your disappointments build and fester. If you talk to people regularly there’ll be no surprises.
Smart Moves Tip
The critical talent management issue businesses face today is how to keep engagement high and retain those key employees who are right now thinking about seeking greener pastures as the economy and job market improves. Some may think employee engagement is primarily a human resource concern. Yet Gallup’s research has found that managers are the ones primarily responsible for their employees’ engagement levels.