According to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace report, only 33% of employees are engaged in their work. This means that nearly 70% of your employees are either “not engaged” or are “actively disengaged.” Think about that. Over half of the employees at any given company are, at best, unhappy with their jobs. These unhappy employees are lacking inspiration and motivation. So, how can you inspire engagement with these unengaged workers?
Employee engagement looks different for every company, but at the core of the solution is communication. Courtney Mickunas, an experienced executive coach and founder of Courtney Mickunas Consulting, shared her 3 Rules to Inspire Engagement with us, and we’re here to share them with you.
1. Ask, don’t assume.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to employee recognition. In order to give effective feedback, you must first learn how your employees like to communicate. These communication preferences will affect how they like to receive recognition. For example, Susan may appreciate being praised for her hard work in front of her peers at a meeting, while Joe might prefer a simple face-to-face thank you. Other employees might be satisfied with an email or an extra day off. By figuring out what works for your team, you’ll be able to motivate them to keep performing at their very best.
2. Connect before you correct.
The key to delivering meaningful feedback to your employees is to establish a good relationship. People tend to be more receptive to feedback from someone they trust and respect than from someone who hasn’t made an effort to build rapport. If you’re not sure where you stand with an employee, tally up your interactions. Do most of your interactions create a connection, or have they been more focused on correcting a behavior? Without taking the extra time to create a relationship first, the continued corrections will take a toll on that employee’s motivation.
Connecting with your employees will give you a better idea of who they are and how they fit into your organization (and vice versa!). Take them out for coffee, chat in the break room over lunch, or just drop by their desk to check in. Establishing this relationship allows you to have more constructive communication in the future.
3. Act, reflect, repeat.
As the business landscape continues to change, so will employee engagement. It’s crucial to continually monitor your employee engagement efforts to determine how meaningful your actions are to employees. Set some goals before you implement your strategy to help you measure the effectiveness of your plan. Once you’ve acted, take some time to reflect on those goals before you repeat the plan. Why did certain parts of your plan succeed while others failed? What insights have you gained about your workforce? This reflection will determine if you need to change direction completely or just make some small tweaks in your engagement strategy.