It’s a usual weekday morning and you find yourself in an all too common situation that bogs down many executives and managers: Your employees seem unenthused and unengaged at the office. The worst thing you can do is sit there every day, watch this happen, and take no action to determine the root cause. So, what are the best ways to go about re-engaging employees, especially those paramount individuals that you don’t want to lose? Here are a few ideas for you to implement:
- Open up the dialogue and talk. What projects is everyone working on? Does everyone feel supported in the project and understand the meaning and intention behind the tasks at hand? This is extremely important when it comes to the dedication employees pour into their daily routines and checklists. Ensure your employees know and understand the reasoning behind the projects they are working on. Additionally, certify that your employees know and understand the desired goals and outcomes of their tasks – for example, what is the goal for completing each project? What is the “return on investment,” in other words, the return on their invested time and efforts on this project?
- Set goals together and hone in on strengths. The company’s goals should be shared with all members of your team, no matter what ranking or bureaucracy takes precedence when it comes to the completing and managing of such tasks and projects. Spark your employees’ inspirations and interests by making sure you engage each employee’s strengths properly and assign tasks accordingly. You may find that your employees have been assigned to the wrong projects and making a quick assignment swap may make a world of difference.
- Incorporate intentional listening into every meeting. Yes, there is a time and a place and a type of meeting that warrants a one-person-controlled conversation and dialogue; however, there are many times when this is not the case. Ensure your employees feel encouraged to speak up and share their ideas and opinions. Make sure they know that their ideas are being heard and implemented.
- Reevaluate the working hours, flexibility, paid time off, and work from home policies. Do your policies work well for your employees or are your standards stale and in need of updates? These policies are for your team – ensure they appear that way! These standards should not be mere formalities, but rather intentional decisions that your employees can thrive under and benefit from.
- Informal conversation can go a long way. What do your team members do outside of the office? Uncovering your employees’ otherwise “hidden” interests and creative talents can nurture a more personal relationship between you and your employees, no matter what the hierarchy between you and them may be. Exhibiting a genuine interest in their lives outside of the office instills appreciation and humanizes your employees beyond the stringent worker façade.
- Stick to meeting times and an employee’s requested time frame for follow-up and review. This commitment on your end shows the employee that his or her job is meaningful and important. If you miss deadlines, consistently reschedule meetings, or are simply not fully present in meetings (i.e. checking your emails on your phone, etc.), the employee may lack a sense of worthwhile in terms of his or her job role and tasks, which may manifest and appear as disengagement and lack of interest.
One of the most important things to remember is that a disengaged employee does not translate to a lost cause. Reach out and check in with your employees from time-to-time. This check-in doesn’t always have to be hidden behind an inquiry about the progress of a project; it can be a transparent gesture to grab coffee or lunch outside of the office and just chat. These check-ins don’t have to be face-to-face every time, but try to aim for a more personal check-in on a quarterly basis. Being an active member in your employees’ work environment can go a long way in terms of making them feel valued, needed and respected, which in turn will empower your employees to be more engaged and motivated – a win-win for all parties involved!