Did you know that disengaged employees could be costing your company thousands of dollars every year? Finding ways to motivate disengaged employees is a priority for modern companies, especially research tells us that disengaged employees are costing US companies a staggering $550 billion a year.
But do you know what a disengaged employee looks like?
At best they’re unenthusiastic and do the absolute minimum. At worst they’re grumpy and negative, and drag the whole team down.
Disengaged employees tend to have low productivity rates and are more likely to be absent from work. In addition, the toxic negativity of the disengaged employee can easily spread to other members of the team.
The latest research from Gallup reports that only 34 percent of employees in the US are actively engaged. And while this may be at an all-time high, the same research tells that up to 13 percent of the workforce are actively disengaged. The rest – more than 50 percent – are in that gray area of neither engaged nor disengaged with the potential to go either way.
So, what can you do to re-engage with the disengaged?
Here are four strategies you can easily deploy now to motivate disengaged employees in your organization.
1. Get Managers On Board
If you want to motivate staff and reconnect with the disengaged specifically, then it has to start with line managers. The evidence suggests that managers account for over 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement. An employee’s day-to-day experience of the company and their jobs is largely dictated by the employee-manager relationship.
Undertaking a program of education and development will ensure that managers know how to get the best out of staff.
The best managers display a range of attributes and behaviors including the following:
- good communication abilities
- the capacity to actively listen
- coaching and mentoring skills
- celebrating team and individual success
- encouraging personal development
Managers are the key to employee engagement and motivation so start off by getting them on board. Encourage your line managers to do a weekly self-check on these points. Have they publicly thanked the team or an employee for a job well done? Have they shown empathy and actively listened when a member of staff encountered an issue? Remind your managers to be mindful of demonstrating these attributes. Consider creating a checklist or some guidelines on your intranet for managers to refer to.
2. Review Performance Management Systems
How does your company manage staff performance? Do you operate a command and control style of approach in which employees are told what to do? Or is it more of a coaching and collaborative style of management?
Disengaged employees, as well as employees generally, respond better to less rigid performance management systems; where employees are encouraged to show initiative and have some autonomy to make decisions.
A lack of clarity around performance expectations is one of the key drivers for disengagement. Employees need to know what the requirements of the job are. They should also have a clear sense of what’s expected of them.
Annual reviews and job descriptions may well be an important part of the process. However, they are no substitute for regular informal feedback and conversations about performance between manager and employee.
Those managers in constant communication with employees on tasks, responsibilities, and performance will be more successful on the employee engagement front.
Stay on track by devising a review performance management system. Develop a set of key objectives for each employee, with priority ranking. Naturally, these objectives must clearly align with the company’s overall objectives.
With your employee’s input, list the associated tasks and agree on how long each task is expected to take. State what the expected outcomes will be, and how progress will be monitored.
This document – which you can confidentially store on your company intranet – can be readily referred to during each catch-up session. It’s a proven technique to motivate disengaged employees.
3. Recognize And Reward Staff
One of the top reasons why employees become disengaged and end up quitting their jobs is because they feel undervalued. They believe the organization doesn’t appreciate them or their contribution. That the extra hours they put in to finish off a project went unnoticed, or their money-saving innovation was ignored. The feeling of not being sufficiently valued can soon freefall into active disengagement.
A simple thank you from the line manager can go a long way to counteracting this. Better still, a formal organization-wide system of employee recognition will send an important message to all staff about how much the company values their efforts.
It doesn’t have to be an expensive program of rewards. A write-up in the staff newsletter or a commendation on the office intranet recognizing the team or employee of the month is often all it takes to make a difference. Public affirmation is one of the most effective – and easiest – ways to boost morale.
4. Provide Opportunities For Staff To Develop
Another common gripe from the disengaged is that the company offers no prospects for career advancement. They also often complain that there are few opportunities for learning and development.
Certainly, the flatter organizational structures that are typical of businesses these days allow less room for career advancement. This can lead to dissatisfaction among employees, and over time to active disengagement.
Companies now need to be more imaginative in enabling employee movement across the organization. This could include inter-departmental project work, mentoring or secondment arrangements.
In addition, it’s important that organizations look to provide sufficient opportunities for staff members to grow within their jobs and acquire new skills. Technology has made it easier for employees to learn and develop outside of traditional classroom-style learning. Instead, staff members can select from podcasts, wikis, webinars, how-to videos as well as online checklists and quizzes.
The great advantage of these online options is that workers can complete modules at their own pace and at a time and location that suits them. It could be on their commute to and from work, during a quiet afternoon in the office, or from the comfort of their own home on a Saturday morning. As well as satisfying the employee’s need to grow and develop, the versatility offered by online options fits perfectly with the more flexible working arrangements that today’s workforce demand.
Motivate Disengaged Employees: The Bottom Line
Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox once said:
Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. If you want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.
(Check out this blog for more inspirational and motivational quotes from business leaders.)
It is by encouraging, stimulating and motivating all employees, that you get the best out of your workforce. Effective internal communication is the backbone to engaging staff. This takes effort and commitment that is ongoing.
Leverage the tools and technology available to support your goal of motivating disengaged staff. The rich features now available within modern intranet software solutions mean a whole new era in employee engagement. Many organizations incorporate all their engagement initiatives within an intranet environment. Everything from training, personal development programs, internal staff surveys, forums and more are all now part of the feature set within an intranet solution.
To see for yourself how easy you could motivate employees who are disengaged by introducing a cloud-based intranet, why not experience a 14-day free trial of MyHub, starting today?