Are Your Employees Engaged? (Part Two of Two)

Handling “dis-engaged” Employees

Efforts to raise levels of engagement are worthwhile for those in the not-engaged range. Not engaged employees concentrate on tasks and want to be told what to do. They focus on process, not results. Managers who only provide tasks to an employee reinforce “not engaged” behaviors and move away from engaging the heart, mind, and soul of that person.

Employees who feel disconnected emotionally from their coworkers and supervisor do not feel committed to their work. They hang back and do the minimum because they don’t believe anyone cares. The way to get people to become a part of an organization is through relationships.

First, managers need to demonstrate a sense of really caring about employees and what’s important to them. The manager who takes the time to have a dialogue about an employee’s strengths and how these can make a difference forges essential ties and connections that lead to employee commitment.

Expectations, Clarification and Measurement

Managers must provide expectations, clarification, and measurement.  A good place to start is with conversations about expectations for the person in a given role. Get the individual to view his or her role from a broader perspective instead of from a narrow task-oriented point of view. Encourage the employee to see how his or her work contributes to the organizational future by asking:

“What are the outcomes you are supposed to achieve?”
”What were you hired to do?”
”How do you contribute to making this a great place to work?”
”Are you creating engaged customers?”

Next, managers can help employees clarify how they can achieve outcomes. Sometimes they can help employees change their roles to fit their talents better. A person who is not adept at written reports and details can collaborate with someone who is. Measurement is crucial to an employee’s feeling of success, as long as the measurement focuses on outcomes, not steps. Good measurement aligns with outcomes and matches the expectations for the role.

How to Keep an Employee Engaged

Engaged workers produce more, make more money for the company, and create emotional engagement and loyal customers. They stay with the organization longer and are more committed to quality and growth than are the other two groups of not-engaged and actively disengaged workers.

  • Employees must have a strong relationship with their manager
  • They must have clear communications from their manager
  • They need a clear path set for concentrating on what they do best
  • They need strong relationships with their coworkers
  • They must feel a strong commitment with their coworkers so that they will take risks and stretch for excellence

Engaged employees tend to get the least amount of focus and attention from managers, in part because they’re doing what they are needed to do. Great managers spend most of their time with the most productive and talented people because they have the most potential. The challenge for managers comes when the first signs of disengaging appear from an engaged worker. The symptoms need to be addressed immediately or else the disconnection is most likely to continue.

What Employees Want a Manager to Do

For great managers, the path toward engaging employees and keeping them engaged begins

with asking them what they want and what is important in order to be effective in their roles. Here is a summary of what workers responding to the Gallup Q12 survey say they what they want from their managers:

Focus me Equip me
Know me Help me see my value
Care about me Help me grow
Hear me Help me see my importance
Help me feel proud Help me build mutual trust
Help me review my contributions Challenge me
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