How is your team’s engagement? Could it be better? This blog reveals engagement barriers that managers may inadvertently be creating. It:
• Examines whether you, as the manager, have something to do with disengaged employees (hint: it’s likely), and
• Offers advice for eliminating those potentially damaging behaviors
Passive Management Is a Killer When It Comes to Employee Engagement
If you follow the research on employee engagement, you know that engagement rates have hardly budged, topping out at about 30% for fully-engaged employees. Not very impressive, to be sure. And that’s after spending more than $1 billion annually Just on surveys to help boost the rates
But guess what? You’re impacting engagement rates—for better or worse—whether you’re actively or passively doing it.
It’s Easy to Sap Employees Trust and Morale by Doing Nothing
What’s not so obvious about employee engagement is how much damage you can do just by:
1. Failing to show appreciation
2. Neglecting to provide growth opportunities
3. Failing to provide needed training
4. Showing favoritism
Our research shows that actively-disengaged employees feel unappreciated at 2.5 times the rate of fully-engaged employees. They feel stymied in growth opportunities almost 2.5 times more frequently than fully-engaged employees, as well.
Actively-disengaged employees feel they’re missing out on needed training almost twice as often as their fully-engaged counterparts, and they feel the burden of favoritism more than twice as often as their fully-engaged colleagues, too. Could they be right?
The Role of Management in Disengagement
Think about it. Do you have certain “go to” staff you depend on? And others you ignore for one reason or another? Are there some on your team you simply like better than others, so you gravitate toward them? Sure. You’re human. We all are.
But let’s admit it. The less time and attention you spend with some employees, the more disengaged they become. The more disengaged they become, the more you ignore them.
It’s a downward spiral with severe costs. Not only are you creating a unhealthy work environment—which is bad enough—but you and organizations like yours are losing your share of $483 billion to $605 billion each year in lost productivity from actively-disengaged employees.
How to Re-Engage Disengaged Employees
You’re the manager. It’s up to you to reverse course. It won’t be easy or immediate; change takes time. But here’s a place to start:
• Make a list. Who on your team might be getting short shrift?
• Set a date to talk with each one of them individually to see what you can do to make up lost ground.
• Write up a few thoughts in advance. What training might be useful? What learning and growth opportunities are available? What talents and skills does the employee have that you can leverage in a way that makes them feel appreciated?
Most importantly: Pay close attention to the actual conversation instead of focusing on what you’ve done in terms of “coaching” or “motivation.” How well did you understand the person’s needs and aspirations? Give yourself an “A” if you knew in advance what was required … but only if you make it happen. Give yourself a really low score for not knowing … and not doing.
If you find yourself in this boat, commit yourself to making the effort to change.
Make a Commitment to Engage EVERY Employee. And Follow Through.
If you know what to do to engage employees, you’re half way home.
What barriers to engagement were you inadvertently creating and how did you overcome? I’d like to know. If you would like to learn more about how to better engage your employees discover our training programs at firstname.lastname@example.org.