It has never been more important to build an engaged workforce who is passionate about helping your organization succeed in today’s changing and challenging business climate. But there may be hidden symptoms of disengagement that can cause employees to “turnoff”, just when you need them the most. The individual’s immediate supervisor or manager is usually in the best position to create some of these unfortunate circumstances. Luckily, they are also in the best position to turn it around. Jim Haudan, in his book entitled “The Art of Engagement“, lists 6 issues that employees state are preventing them from truly engaging and committing to their organizations, as follows:
I Can’t Be Engaged if I’m Overwhelmed. – Today we all are bombarded with information flying at us at rocket speed in the form of emails, phone calls, text messages and IMs. If leaders don’t meet regularly with their staff to articulate the key priorities, it’s easy for them to become overwhelmed.
I Can’t Be Engaged if I Don’t Get It. – Staying up to speed about new procedures, resources and technology can be difficult enough for an experienced employee, but it is especially that way for new employees. If leaders don’t help their staff get the knowledge, tools and assistance they need to get up to speed quickly, you can lose some great people before they even get into full swing.
I Can’t Be Engaged If I’m Scared. – If employees believe they will be publicly humiliated or reprimanded if they make a mistake, they are not going to want to let their manager know about it when it does actually happen. A culture of distrust and fear is toxic to an organization. If leaders don’t go out of their way to let their staff know it’s okay to tell them the bad news, and that it’s safe to make mistakes, they’ll stay in the dark and wonder why they couldn’t fix a problem before it got worse.
I Can’t Be Engaged if I Don’t See The Big Picture. – When employees don’t understand how their role fits into the organization’s purpose, they can begin to wonder if they are even that important at all. It’s important for their direct manager or supervisor to help them understand why what they do is important. Then they will begin to feel a greater sense of pride and purpose in what they do each day.
I Can’t Be Engaged if It’s Not My Idea. – It’s important that employees feel they are valued and their ideas are heard. If leaders don’t ask for their input, especially regarding decisions that directly impact them, they can begin to feel “Why even bother?” Worse yet, the organization never gets the benefit of their creative ideas that could help the company immensely. It’s critical that all levels of management ask for employee feedback, input and suggestions.
I Can’t Be Engaged If My Leaders Just Don’t Get It. – This is usually the biggest reason why employees may feel disengaged. The most important person for building a stronger workforce is the individual supervisor or manager of each person in your organization. All of the previous issues listed here can be directly impacted by each individual leader. Make sure you provide all the leaders in your organization with the resources they need to build a more engaged workforce.
Key Take Away: Make sure every supervisor, manager and senior leader in your organization understands what it takes to build an engaged workforce. Help them to understand how critical their role is in this process, and make sure they recognize the symptoms of disengagement so they can stop it and turn it around before it is too late. The price to your organization is just too great not to.
The whitepaper “Techniques for Retaining and Engaging Your Workforce” provides additional information regarding the steps managers can take to keep your best people from leaving. It also addresses a variety of best practices any leader can use to more fully engage each team member they lead.
Download FREE Whitepaper – Techniques for Retaining and Engaging Your Workforce
Susan Cullen is President of Quantum Learning Solutions, Inc., based in Pennsylvania. She has over 15 years experience in Organizational Development and is considered an expert in the use of blended learning methodologies for lasting organizational change.