Did you know that nearly 70% of American workers are tuned out at work? This isn’t a surprise to employers and managers, who know that motivating employees is easier said than done.
If employee disengagement is such a pervasive problem, what can we do about it? Employee disengagement does’t have to be the new norm, so here’s how we can all be part of the solution:
Stop wasting time. While we typically envision a burned out employee slaving away 12 hours a day, seven days a week, we actually think monotony can be a similar contributor to burnout. Too many employees spend way more hours than they need doing low value, low return activities every day. That busywork, from no-longer-useful meetings to unnecessary or complicated reporting practices stretch the day longer than it needs to be and leave people bored. When your team doesn’t see the return on the time they invest at work, they’re more likely to burn out and move on.
Involve management. Remember when we said “employees don’t quit their job, they quit their boss”? Well, it’s still true. The old stereotypes of managers as controlling and authoritative, or bumbling and scared to do their job, need to end. What do direct managers need to do? They need to be involved and available. Managers need to develop their listening and empathy skills, and they also need to not have so much of their own work that they don’t have time to coach their employees. By addressing some of these common manager-employee challenges, you can improve employee satisfaction and buy-in.
Prioritize clarity. While it’s important to not micromanage your team, your employees need clarity around what they’re expected to do each day, their goals – both individually and as a department and organization – and who on the team is responsible for what. Managers also need to take measures to prevent the scope of an employee’s job from creeping far outside the bounds of what they were hired to do, and any changes in role or job description need to be clearly communicated and agreed upon. When your employees know exactly how their role fits into the bigger picture of your organization and how that role contributes to the overall mission, they feel their efforts are valued and recognized.
Instead of embarking on a full-scale employee engagement program, which often carries a big price tag, try eliminating busywork and outdated processes, freeing up direct managers to coach their employees, and making sure team clearly understands how their work contributes to your mission.