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Rally 'Disengaged' Employees

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 21, 2011

After two years of layoffs, small pay increases, and requests to do more with less, employees are tired, overworked, and increasingly disengaged. Do you worry that your employees are remaining with your business only because they can’t find other employment or staying because they don’t want to be some other company’s low man on the totem pole?

If you have a disengaged workforce, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the Corporate Leadership Council’s recently released report on quarterly employee-engagement trends, the number of employees who say they have "high levels of intent" is down to 22 percent. Following are 10 steps you can take to engage your employees.

1. Link your engagement efforts to high performance. Employee engagement is not about employee satisfaction. The last thing you should want is a team of satisfied but underperforming employees.

2. Engagement starts at the top. Leaders must demonstrate support for an engaged culture by personally living their company’s values.

3. Engage leaders. The adage is true: Employees join great companies but quit bad managers.

4. Focus on communication, the cornerstone of engagement. An effective communication plan is built on clarity, consistency, and transparency.

5. Individualize how you engage with employees. It is no longer a matter of treating people the way you want to be treated. The new mantra is: Treat people the way they want to be treated.

6. Create a motivational culture. Employees will be more likely to do more when they think you care about them as people.

7. Create feedback mechanisms. Companies need to ask employees what they think. Employee engagement surveys are a great tool to check an organization’s pulse.

8. Reinforce and reward behavior. Employees are motivated by achievement, not money. Money cannot compensate if employees perceive they are being treated unfairly.

9. Track and communicate progress. Leaders need to reinforce what’s working well by telling their employees where the organization is going, how they’re performing, and where they fit in.

10. Hire right. Companies need to hire the right behaviors and traits to succeed in their culture.

Bob Kelleher
Chief Executive Officer
The Employee Engagement Group
Waltham, Mass.

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