The ability to engage your employees for high performance sees you become a highly sought leader. With only 24% of Australian employees engaged, 60% neutral (just there but not engaged) and 16% disengaged, it is not surprising that the lack of productivity in Australia costs $42 billion a year. Why is this so? Your employees often can’t see, do not know, what value they are contributing, what difference they are making to your organisation. They come to work, do what they need to ensure they keep their jobs, but leave, in the car park, their hearts and minds, that part of them that has the potential to bring so much innovation, empowerment and high performance to your organisation. 70% of employee engagement in an organisation is dependent on managers, yet 44% managers have said they do not know what motivates their employees. So is it any wonder that employees are not engaged.
Here are 9 actions that you can take to motivate and inspire engagement in your organisation.
1. Develop a psychological contract with your employees.
- Make an emotional investment in them. “We will look after you, if you look after our organisation”.
- Promise to make their work meaningful and fulfilling if they will give you their hearts and minds, their loyalty and commitment.
- Create a win/win experience.
2. Motivate and inspire your employees to engagement with your organisation.
- Help them see the rewards and benefits career wise.
- Lead them to see how personally fulfilling it can be to be engaged.
- Help them develop the attitudes and Soft Skills to become fully engaged with their work and their organisation.
3. Engage with each one of your team members individually and personally on a regular basis and get to know them.
- Ask them what they want from you.
- Discuss with them how you can best give them that.
- Encourage them and give them opportunities to develop skills they either don’t have or which challenge them.
- Assist them to develop a personal connection to their work. This means that you know what is personally important to them and that you can help them get that from their work.
4. Assist your employees to align their personal goals with the organisation’s goals so they can have a fulfilling and satisfying relationship with it.
- Be able to clearly explain the organisation’s goals and your priorities for your employees within that and keep them focused on those. People can’t engage with something that is constantly shifting, or is fuzzy and unclear.
- Help them to clarify their own goals.
- Discover what talents, skills and abilities they have.
- Allocate projects/work to them based on those skills, talents and abilities.
- Make sure they can see how their work contributes to the organisation meeting its goals.
5. Motivate your employees to take responsibility for their career development, rather than see it as someone else’s responsibility.
- Create a learning and development environment within the organisation where employees can grow their careers.
- Find out what their career goals and aspirations are.
- Help them to create a career development plan.
- Make yourself available to discuss their career development with them on a regular basis.
- Ensure they are aware of any career development opportunities that become available within the organisation.
- Encourage them to be proactive in seeking opportunities within the organisation.
- Mentor in leadership skills those who aspire to leadership and who demonstrate potential in that area.
6. Build a supportive, well-functioning team. Assume responsibility for your team as would a head coach in a sports team.
- Make sure everyone is a good fit in the team.
- Motivate them to be fit and healthy.
- Ensure they respect one another.
- Encourage collaborative and supportive work.Help them recognise, value and appreciate one another’s strengths.
- Develop a culture of trust in the team.
7. Be visible to your team.
- Physically – manage by walking around (another version of walking the talk!).
- Psychologically – let them get to know you and what is important to you. People engage best with you when they know, like and trust you.
- Increase your face to face interaction with your employees. People are complex and email particularly is bad for complex stuff.
8. Build trust with your employees.
- Be genuine, honest, open and transparent.
- Don’t play manipulative games.
- Be a person of integrity – know and do what is right always.
- Don’t be defensive, especially in the face of criticism from team members. Take criticism objectively, not personally. Listen and learn and turn your critic into a supporter.
- Walk the talk.
9. Give employees feedback on a regular basis.
- Work with their strengths, not their weaknesses.
- Tell them what they do well.
- Tell them what their contribution means.
- Value and appreciate them.
- Be the coach rather than the critic.
- Where improvement is needed, set clear expectations and goals, work collaboratively and constructively in supporting your employees to meet them, and always follow up.