5 Ways Wise Leaders Engage their Employees
According to Gallup’s most recent research, only 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at work. Take a second to let that soak in.
With that being said, the bulk of employees worldwide – 63 percent — are “not engaged,” meaning they lack motivation and are less invested in organizational goals or outcomes. Of that 63 percent, about a third are “actively disengaged,” indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work.
As a leader, it is important to reverse the attitudes those who are actively disengaged and to find ways to engage all your employees. Unfortunately, the disengaged employees’ negative attitudes can be toxic to your organization, spreading to coworkers and resulting in bigger issues. Whatever those who are engaged do – like solving problems and creating new business – the actively disengaged employees will undo.
While there always will be employees who are actively disengaged, bored and dissatisfied, there are ways to keep their number in your workplace to a minimum. Let’s take a look at ways leaders have worked to solve the problem of “actively disengaged” employees to integrate deep engagement into their organization’s key practices.
1. Development and Ongoing Learning Opportunities
The best performing organizations start developing their employees from their very first day. These organizations focus on developing employees in order to progress their company.
GE is at the forefront of contemporary thinking in workforce development. The company started GE Crotonville, a global leadership institution, to focus on developing leadership, strategy, and innovation. The vigorous program sets up the next generation of leaders of corporate GE. In addition to their rigorous executive-level training, GE prides itself in offering a rotational program that is second-to-none. The program was designed to assist employees with honing in on their skills and to build a career with GE. These two programs have made GE a successful household name.
2. Invest in Sponsorship
Companies often sponsor events and sports teams to promote their brand to the public. However, more recently, sponsorships are used to motivate and engage employees as well.
Leaf Filter, a national gutter protection company, sponsors a NASCAR car and racecar driver Blake Koch in order to motivate and engage employees with the LeafFilter brand. The company’s owner, Matt Kaulig, hosts employee gatherings at the racetrack, and Blake Koch, frequently visits LeafFilter’s corporate headquarters to meet and greet employees. Employees at LeafFilter find their company’s identification with a team strengthens their relationship with customers.
Participating as a corporate sponsor at an event is another way to begin to engage your employees. Whether you focus your sponsorship on small community events, or larger national events, you can still get your employees engaged and motivated to participate for a specific cause as well. For larger corporations, sponsoring an event guarantees your employees will work together as a team outside their typical work environment. In addition, this offers an opportunity for your employees to foster relationships with the community, which can also help your company gain greater exposure and awareness.
Whether you focus your sponsorship on small community events, or larger national events, you can still get your employees engaged and motivated to participate for a specific cause as well.
3. Emphasize Sustainability Practices
Sustainability is no longer a buzzword that organizations throw out periodically. In fact, sustainability and corporate social responsibility are standard policies that every successful company must embrace. A successful sustainability program will result in a more positive brand, and it plays a crucial role in employee retention.
In particular, Starbucks teaches its employees about its four main sustainable programs. Starbucks focuses on water and energy conservation, climate change, recycling and reducing waste, and LEED certified stores. Starbucks makes an active effort to train employees to promote recycling and waste reduction.
Sustainability is no longer a buzzword that organizations throw out periodically
4. Use Social Media
How employees become engaged differs from person to person, but employee engagement is largely about creating social connections within organizations. Companies can take these social efforts online by utilizing social media in order to build relationships and a stronger organization.
Recreational Equipment uses social media practices in order to get close with employees. The company calls the program the “company campfire,” and offers associates and executives the ability to share their thoughts and participate in live discussions. This program has given employees a voice and connects their more than 11,000 employees.
5. Incentives and Advancement
When an employee’s prospect for advancement is strong and there are positive motivators in place, employees are more likely to be loyal to their organization. Employee incentive programs reward exceptional employees for reaching work goals and achieving a milestone. In return, employees feel valued and recognized for their hard work.
It is important to remember that not all forms of compensation have to be monetary. Instead, Buttoned Up Inc., an organizational firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, rewards its employees with flexible schedules. “Depending on their job, some employees are allowed to work one day a week from home to save on gas money while others can choose between getting their work done in two days or spreading it out over the entire work week. ‘As long as everyone gets their work done, we’re very flexible,’” Buttoned Up Founder and CEO Alicia Rockmore explains in Business Insider.
Finding unique ways to engage your employees at work will not only help with retention, but also fosters a workplace environment where employees feel fulfilled and motivated. By implementing some of these engagement tactics, like investing in sponsorship and carrying out an incentive program, employees feel valued, and will bring their best to work every day.
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