Engage Employees to Fuel Productivity

By Bowes, Barbara | Winnipeg Free Press, November 24, 2018 | Go to article overview

Engage Employees to Fuel Productivity


Bowes, Barbara, Winnipeg Free Press


November is often seen as the month for accountability checks. University students have exams and report cards, while many organizations are absorbed in preparing year-end financial and customer statistics. It’s also the time for those annual human-resource surveys projecting what to expect for the coming year.

That might explain why I recently received a couple of national and provincial HR surveys. Reading through one study, I learned that while 78 per cent of participants said employee engagement was very important, at least 30 per cent of organizations did not measure engagement in any way.

However, those that did measure engagement identified that only 59 per cent of employees are engaged in their work and feel a profound connection to their organization. So, what about all the others? As indicated in the study, as many as 21 per cent of employees have “checked out.”

So, why have these employees checked out and are now just probably dragging themselves to work?

According to one report, the key factor causing disengagement is the relationship with an immediate supervisor. In this case, the manager does not help employees feel valued or included in decision-making. Employees feel their opinions don’t matter and their ideas are not appreciated. My interpretation of this statistic suggests the organization’s leadership style could be outdated and is all about, “When I say, ‘jump,’ you say, ‘how high?’”

Frankly, this leadership style doesn’t work anymore and has been steadily declining over the past decade. That leaves another set of factors that could possibly be impacting employee engagement.

This was outlined in a recent Deloitte report on millennials and Gen Z. The study suggests if this younger group of employees is disengaged, it’s probably due to the fact their employer is not aligned with their personal values.

In particular, this survey suggests younger employees are bringing more of a social justice and environmental perspective to work. They want to work with an employer that respects and contributes toward these initiatives.

However, no matter what the age range of your employees, everyone wants to feel valued, appreciated and empowered. This is what leads to job satisfaction, loyalty and employee engagement.

So the question is: what exactly can be done to energize those disengaged employees?

One answer is to develop and implement employee recognition initiatives that are celebrated year round and not just in this November accountability month.

Managers and leaders who make recognition a part of their everyday life are much more successful and have much happier employees.

The following tactics will assist you to pull those staff out of the doldrums and regain their hidden spirit of engagement:

Make “thank-you” a habit: this is a simple, no-cost tactic that not only makes a lasting impression but ingrains positivity in everything you do. Employees and colleagues feel valued and appreciated. Said with sincerity, a thank-you goes a long way.

Be creative: there are many simple, no-cost rewards that can be implemented as part of a reward and recognition program. Plan a potluck lunch, initiate Monday soup days or arrange for a variety of board games in your lunch room. Celebrate a variety of personal milestones. If a client provides a gift of flowers or chocolates, share them in the lunchroom.

Create little surprises: do you remember the last time management brought in a special food treat for no reason at all? Bring in a massage therapist for an afternoon treat when the pressure of work is high. …

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