Only 13 percent of the worldwide workforce is engaged, according to Gallup. The United States averaged at about 30 percent.
Workers could be classified as rockstars, floaters, and disrupters. Rockstars go beyond the call of duty. Floaters do the bare minimum. Disrupters display their dissatisfaction.
Frontline managers should be responsible for the staff’s level of involvement. Leadership has to figure out what motivates employees.
Supervisors should be aware of negative behavior that could be contagious. Those small stones of problems could become boulders that affect the company culture.
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali
Tips to enhance engagement
Make employees feel valued: Most employees want to get involved, but may feel discouraged or intimidated. They should know how their performance matters. Employees should be aware of the agency’s goals and know their work contributes to the big picture.
Newsletters, emails, or personal thank you notes should provide some specifics. Employees want to hear results. Some departments have peer-nominated award programs to acknowledge standout employees. Talk to human resources about the policies and form a committee.
Initiate team-building activities: Management should celebrate milestones with the team. Have lunch at a restaurant to relax, or order in and eat in a conference room. Potlucks can help a team connect, share recipes, and successes/failures preparing the dish. The group is working together to create a positive memory.
Supervisors can inquire about work-related training opportunities. Find out which areas could benefit the team an enhance performance. Perhaps some employees have wanted to learn how to communicate effectively. Bring in a moderator to discuss different generations working in the same place. “Millennials” are dominating the headlines these days. (We enjoy sharing our opinions).
Ask for feedback: Brace yourself for brutal honesty. Anonymous surveys can help some hesitant employees share their opinions. Some employees don’t care enough to complete the questionnaire, others may fear backlash. Close-ended questions help quantify certain dynamics but offer little room for feedback. Open-ended questions would allow participants to express themselves.
Managers need to create a comfortable environment that would allow employees to share opinions openly. Leadership has to act on the responses. If not, they run the risk of getting repeat buy-in from their staff.
Open lines of communication: Employees want to know their superior cares. Managers will have challenges if they talk to staff on a need-to-know basis, or when there is a problem. A supervisor said his rule of thumb is to listen first and respond later. Gather as much information to help resolve the matter. A solution may arise in the conversation. Employees that feel their voices are heard are more likely to be productive and engaged.
Camille Doty is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.