Staff Sgts. Fred Hilliker and Robert O’Hair were boarding Delta Flight 1625 in Baltimore for the final leg of their journey home from Afghanistan together with 32 U.S soldiers, when their homecoming came to an abrupt halt. Delta personnel informed the unit they needed to cough up $200 for every fourth bag, even though their military orders stated that these were covered. The incident stained Delta’s reputation, because what they did to these soldiers was just flat-out wrong. What’s worse, the employees who were demanding payment knew it. So how is it possible that even the U.S Army didn’t get a break?
According to the Harvard Business Review a lack of employee engagement is to blame. Even though the Delta desk workers made an irreverent decision, they just stuck to what they were told. It is in fact management that is at fault by setting rigid rules that disable employee judgment and creating so many approval hurdles for everyday decisions, that overworked employees say, “Why bother?”
Not only Delta employees feel disengaged. Gallup’s ‘State Of The Workplace’ reports that, worldwide, a whopping 87% is not engaged at their job. Besides feeling like puppets on a string, they feel left out, ignored and not in touch with the company or its vision. As a result they lack motivation and simply don’t care whether their boss makes an extra buck or not. This type of behavior has a huge impact on your business, because it will cost you a fortune.
Even though keeping employees engaged isn’t always easy, it’s necessary if employers want their staff to be productive and stay happy within their positions. Here are five ways to keep your people inspired.
In the opinion of the Harvard Business Review leadership is a conversation. How companies handle the flow of information to, from, and among their staff plays a huge role in keeping your employees engaged. This process must be conversational. “Smart leaders today engage with employees in a way that resembles an ordinary person-to-person conversation. By talking with employees, rather than simply issuing orders, leaders know what is happening within the company and can adjust where necessary”, writes HBR. Physical proximity between leaders and employees isn’t always possible. Nor is it essential. What is essential is mental or emotional proximity. Ask employees about their opinion by holding a poll, address their concerns via digital signage or broadcast company news on their own personal desktop.
Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Everyone wants a ‘pat on the back’ to make them feel good. Employees are no different. More so, they respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work, because it confirms their work is valued. When employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity rises, and they are motivated to maintain or even improve their work. Praise and recognition can range from a simple “thank you” note to an employee of the month award or an incentive program.
Sometimes numbers speak louder than words. Showing employees the monetary results of their efforts can be a huge motivational tool, because it can give employees a clear understanding of how their work contributes to overall company success. Financial statements that show profit, capital and investments can be easily shared via digital signage or desktop screensavers. By using different media everyone can be kept in the loop.
According to a study from the British Centre for Economic Performance, socializing with colleagues is the only thing proven to make you as happy then when you’re not at work. More so, employees feel that being ignored at work is even worse than being bullied. Creating an environment of inclusion is crucial. This can be achieved by organizing team-building events like happy hours or bowling, but also by promoting non-physical togetherness. Communicating via social intranet, for example, can boost company morale and make employees work better together.
Research shows that turnover rates lower with 14.9 percent when companies provide their staff with regular feedback. Not only do employees need frequent feedback to help them grow, they also need an occasional indicator where to adjust. An annual review just does not suffice, that’s way too infrequent. Ideally, you should be meeting with your employees once every 2 weeks for a quick, informal check-in.
Contact our experts and find out how we can make your employees fall in love with their jobs again.