According to a study conducted by Gallup, 70 percent of US workers are not engaged at work. It’s an astonishingly high figure! Disengagement has many faces: employees might feel disconnected from their job, their manager, from the organization and its value. It’s not only that they cannot relate to the job itself, but this lack of connection will also make them feel unhappy or even miserable at work.
The consequences are easy to predict: they will do the minimum job requirements and they might create a negative atmosphere among team members. Moreover, disengaged workers are less likely to recommend the products and services of the company, they leave the organization when they get the first acceptable offer, and they might be negligent as far as workplace safety is concerned.
Therefore, the level of engagement in an organization is essential for key parameters such as employee turnover, workplace safety, and overall success.
The 4 Rs of creating a culture of engagement
Leaders should pay more attention to the level of engagement in their organization if they want to inspire people to deliver better results. Moreover, a higher level of engagement is essential not only for the wellbeing of the company but also for the employees’ satisfaction and happiness.
Let’s see what can be done to make people feel they have an impact and a sense of achievement. I call this “the 4 Rs of creating a culture of engagement”:
Recognize individual contributions
One might tend to acknowledge the contribution of people they know better or at least of the people they see more often. A top manager does not know exactly what each entry-level employee does, the hard work and all the extra hours put in to meet that tight deadline.
Remember that great people deliver great results and recognize talent at any level. All people in an organization are important and their effort should be acknowledged.
Appreciation and recognition will boost the sense of belonging and will make people feel that they have an impact.
Relate and adopt a personal style of leadership
Know the people in your team and build rapport with them individually. In this way you will know their strengths and their weaknesses, you will identify disengagement triggers and you will know how to motivate them. Make sure that you show empathy and interest when they express concerns and be prepared to offer solutions.
However, keep in mind that different people have different boundaries and respect them. Extroverts might respond well to a more personal relationship at work, while introverts prefer to keep their distance. Some tell you all about their family; others prefer to keep personal things to themselves. Find other things that might help you build rapport, such as common interests or hobbies.
Read more: Why e-learning is perfect for introverts
Reignite the flame and let them grow
A sense of achievement and engagement come when you feel you are going in a certain direction. Feeling that you will be stuck in the same job regardless of your efforts and the results you deliver is a key factor for employees’ disengagement.
Make sure that the company implements career development paths for different profiles and create contexts that allow people to grow.
For those who do not want to pursue management roles, consider lateral growth (subject-matter positions, senior expert roles, cross-functional positions that imply the acquisition of new skills).
Raise morale and inspire people
Help others see the value and the sense of their work. Each contribution is a piece of the greater puzzle and people should be aware of that. Especially in big companies, where each department has its well-defined role, it is difficult for entry-level employees, who are not exposed to other lines of business, to see the bigger picture.
Try to present the business as a whole instead of addressing only department-related issues and let people see why their role is important in that bigger picture. It will make them feel more engaged and more motivated in the long run.
In conclusion, keep in mind the wise words of Zig Ziglar and act on them: “workers have three prime needs: interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company”.
Veronica is a multilingual trainer of trainers. She has years of experience working with adult learners, both in Higher Education and in the business sector.