Are you eager to get your employees more engaged in their work?
The Signs of Disengagement
Do you see signs of disengagement in your workplace? If talk around the coffee machine is more about a late-night TV show or latest sports event than about the business, that’s a clue. Another sign is if employees look to the supervisor or manager for direction rather than taking the initiative themselves. Yet other signs are illness and absenteeism. Now, you may say, “But, that’s just typical for most businesses.” True, but as we note on page 7 of “Take Charge of Your Talent,” that’s why the latest Gallup survey results (2011) report 71% of U.S. workers are not engaged in their work or are actively disengaged. Disengagement is truly an epidemic in today’s businesses.
What are the causes of disengagement? If people start off eager and enthusiastic, what happens? Disengagement frequently arises from traditional top-down management approaches. The more managers try to “drive” results, the less engaged people feel. Today’s workforce, especially up and coming generations, want to be in charge of their work.
What can employers do? First, recognize that it’s the employees who have the talent. Their self-motivation is critical for engagement and success. While managers can try to rally the troops, the inspiration and commitment needs to come from deep within the employees themselves. How do you unlock such talent and commitment? The first key is to engage employees in talking about their hopes and aspirations for their work and why those are important to them. The second key is to have tools to accelerate through obstacles in achieving their results. This isn’t about the manager taking responsibility for making everything easy for them and giving them the answers. That breeds dependency, which actually worsens disengagement. Rather, it’s helping employees think about the resources and opportunities that they can access to find the answers themselves. Finally, the third key entails employees focusing upon how to turn what they learn and do into concrete career assets for themselves and their organization. When people write up what they learn or create something that they can share with others, they boost their personal brand and provide value to the organization. This stimulates a spirit of shared responsibility, shared opportunity, and shared results. In short, the employees build a take charge talent culture in which everyone can win and engagement thrives.