Lacking enthusiasm and initiative. Complaining often. Do your employees exhibit these behaviors when they did not use to?
Your staff is clearly feeling down and this is not something to take lightly especially if you have witnessed the exemplary work they have exhibited in the past years. This is should be a concern for the company because most of the time, when the atmosphere in the office is heavy or negative, it is usually just a matter of time before people start jumping ship.
Employees are replaceable, there is no doubt about this. You can easily fish for new ones in the deep pool of eager job-hunters. But, if you do not do something about the reasons why employees disengage, the same problem will always recur. Therefore, the right thing to do is to find out and fix the “wrongs” right away.
WHAT IS CAUSING DISENGAGEMENT?
When staff engagement and morale are low, one of the most important things that an executive can do is to get to the level of the employees and see things from their point of view.
So, put that “executive” pride aside and step in the shoes of the “commoners.” This is an effective way of knowing the pain points of your employees and getting to the bottom of the situation. Once you find out the drivers behind disengagement it will be easier to determine feasible solutions.
And speaking of drivers of disengagement, the following are the most common:
Yes, you may be one of the reasons behind the problem. You have to acknowledge this even if you believe that you are dedicated to your job and you only have the organization’s best interests at heart.
When you have been identified as one of the factors behind disengagement, do not take it personally because it often has nothing to do with the kind of person you are. It is usually because of a misunderstanding, or the feeling of disconnect that employees get from you.
The main reason why compensation leads to disengagement is usually because it is not enough, and it is not given on time.
When the pay is not equal to the high value of the work delivered, workers lose the motivation to consistently put out their best. And, when pay is not given on time, it stirs doubt about the company’s integrity and values.
3. ABSENT OR SLOW GROWTH
When employees feel like they are not getting anywhere in their career because the company they serve does not offer opportunities for growth, they resign themselves to being mediocre or direct their eyes to greener pastures.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO FIX THE PROBLEM?
As previously mentioned, once you have identified the drivers behind disengagement, it would be easy enough to determine repair tactics. Four of the smartest fixes are discussed below.
1. IMPROVE YOUR LEADERSHIP.
Boosting leadership skills is easy enough. There are leadership education programs that you can sign up for to improve your style of leadership and outwork the tendencies you have that diminish your efficacy as a leader.
There are books and other materials that you can also read. Along with these, you can attend leadership trainings to update you on the latest leadership trends and help you upgrade your skills.
2. MAKE SURE THE SALARY COMES ON TIME
Salary given on time is a primary motivation for employees. When you make sure that the company stays on top of this, you automatically take away one thing that prompts employees to complain and doubt the company.
This is crucial to uphold because people have financial responsibilities to honor, and their ability to do so is directly linked to the provision of their pay.
3. OPEN THE FLOOR FOR SUGGESTIONS ABOUT IMPROVEMENTS
Encourage your staff to express themselves but do not give too much time to the airing out of grievances. Instead, focus more on what solutions they believe can solve the problems and then discuss which ones are truly applicable to your work situation.
The major takeaway here is you get to show them that their feelings and opinions matter.
4. PROVIDE AN INCENTIVES AND REWARDS PROGRAM
There is nothing like the idea of rewards to spark the interest of and re-energize employees. When they know that high standards need to be met to earn valuable rewards, they have no issue delivering consistently good outcomes.
Some of the best incentives and rewards that you should provide are opportunities for growth. Competitive employees appreciate programs such as workshops, mentoring, and seminars that can help them increase their “professional value.”
Providing such incentives or rewards is highly beneficial in altering the mindset of those who have become complacent in their jobs. It has the power to open their minds to the possibilities of better and greater things ahead of them.
Reversing the problem of low engagement is a must for all organizations. The four fixes here are effective for such an objective, and there are even more solutions that you can tap into. The key here is to tackle the problem right away, do not cover it up — and eventually, disengaged employees will redirect themselves back to the right track.
Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.