Part 5 of the Employee Engagement Series
Have you ever had a moment where you sat at work and wondered what would happen if you simply got up, left and never came back? Would anyone notice? Would anyone care? According to Gallup, only four in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that someone, a supervisor or coworker, cares about them as a person. That leaves six in 10 employees staring at the ceiling, wondering when they became invisible and why they traded their humanity for a number.
Those feelings of abandonment and disillusionment are key indicators of an unengaged employee. If left unchecked, it can turn into another open position or even worse, a destructive cycle that negatively impacts their own mental and emotional state, their team’s productivity, and the organization’s bottom line. Thankfully, in this case, there’s a straight-forward solution.
Now, most of you are yelling, “this girl is off her rocker, I care!” And I believe that you do, but do your employees and coworkers feel that you care? After all, it’s challenging to develop and maintain positive relationships with groups of people who come from different parts of the world and have diverse attitudes, perceptions and beliefs. I know how easy it is to get caught up in your own day-to-day life and assume that if no one is yelling “FIRE” in a crowded theater then all is fine.
Having six out of 10 employees think that no one cares about them as a human being is most definitely NOT fine.
If an organization takes the time to successfully pinpoint what makes employees feel like people first and employees second, then some amazing things happen.
“By moving that [four in 10 employees] ratio to eight in 10 employees, organizations could realize an 8% improvement in engaged customers, a 32% reduction in safety incidents and a 41% reduction in absenteeism.” State of the American Workplace, Gallup
Those statistics stem from the fact that employees who feel cared for in their work environment, are more likely to:
- Be creative
- Feel safe enough to express new ideas
- Share information
- Be respectful and cognizant of others’ mental and emotional states
- Care for their coworkers personally and professionally
- Be more flexible with leadership
- Advocate for the organization
- Feel better equipped to handle both their work and their personal lives (i.e. work-life balance)
Now... to foster a caring environment, organizations and the people within them need to:
Be present. Introduce yourself to new faces in the office. Remember people’s names. Look them in the eye when you are speaking or simply passing by. Say hello when you arrive and goodbye when you leave; smile! Be an active participant in performance conversations and formal reviews; oh and check your phone at the door!
Invest in each other. Acknowledge your employee’s or peer’s personal and professional achievements. Create opportunities for learning and development in a collaborative and safe environment. Gather feedback and act upon it whenever feasible. Trust each other to make decisions and trust each other to learn from mistakes. Be respectful of, and most importantly thankful for, other people’s time and effort.
Listen. Open yourself up to others and listen respectfully and empathetically when they open up to you. Even if you don’t have time to listen right now, make time later. Pay attention and remember the little things-as they tend to turn into big things in the end.
Lift the boat. Don’t see your relationships as a give and take. Put others first and support them however you can. Be the tide that lifts the boat, not the one that sinks it.
These small and significant things will help employees understand that they are genuinely valued and help your coworkers realize that you truly do care.
Hopefully this blog will help you tackle the fifth element of engagement. Stay tuned as we count down to number 12!
If you missed the preceding articles in the Employee Engagement Series:
Available as a complimentary download:
Infographic: The Impact of an Unengaged Employee
Infographic: 21 Tactics to Engage New HiresReport: State of the American Workplace report