“In motivating people you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example – and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.” – Rupert Murdoch
The fact is that a 67% percent of employees are disenfranchised from their jobs.
Too many employees are doing just enough to get by, but not much more. Probably many of them are in your organization. This creates an unhealthy workplace, which tends to sap the strength and productivity out of the organization. Looking closely at the surveys, the primary cause is not employees job content, but how they are ultimately utilized and valued by the organization. If you fail to address these common issues head on — then you will be missing a large opportunity.
The hidden value within your organization is called your employees. Disengaged employees all too often have adopted a foxhole mentality. They are no longer actively participating in the organization at their full capacity. They have become more observers and critics, rather than participants. Yet business requires participation in order to produce action, which keeps the business moving forward. How many in your organization have become observers and critics – rather than participants?
In the book “Good to Great” Jim Collins states “good-to-great company’s paid scant attention to managing change, motivating people, or creating alignment.” Culture is simply not an issue they need to deal with. This is because they have gotten the “right people” moving in the “right direction” and thus the culture is not a liability in delivering exceptional results. The energies in these companies are being expended in value creation rather than internal infighting.
Below are four simple steps to bring out increased value within your organization.
Step # 1 – Clearly identify roles and responsibilities.Most employees just want to know the basics.
- What do I need to succeed?
- What is my authority?
- How can I be promoted?
- What is really important?
- What shouldn’t I do?
Step # 2 – Reach deep and empower broadly, but wisely. Watch to make sure that your actions are empowering rather than limiting. For example, lighten up on the procedures, rules and oversight. Observe, guide and encourage but don’t meddle. Show respect and trust, and more than likely, it will be returned.
Step # 3 – Establish behavioral norms. It all starts with behaviors. They are the key to finding the hidden value within your organization. If you can unlock the desired behaviors in your organization the rest will be easy. You usually get what you expect to get. If you believe that your employees are deficient, untrustworthy, unengaged then those bias will come across when you deal with them. Your most important task is to establish an environment where behavioral expectations are clear and consistently applied. Without this, there is no foundation on which to build employee trust, commitment and improved performance. Communication is important, but if the foundation is not in place then it will be for naught. Cultures by definition are deep-seated conditions that take time to change, as do bad habits. Removing or changing the “bad apples” can begin the process, but it does not ensure that change will occur.
Step # 4 – Institutioalize.First, you cannot institutionalize by memos, proclamations or presentations. Only through deep personal involvement can you institutionalize cultural change. Expectation is the first step in realization. Henry Ford was correct when he said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.” Another key for success is to reinforce. Pay close attention to process. Be visible and frequently communicate a consistent message. The worst thing you can do is to revert to a bunker mentality. You need to step up and actively lead your employees thorough this transformation of reengagement. Get in the foxhole with your employees. You cannot delegate or proximate. You must set the tone and lead. Communicate, re-enforce, and reward.
Everybody wants to enjoy their job. We all spend most of your day working, so why not do it in a pleasant environment. Having a job that is rewarding is a tremendous plus. It lowers stress, provides additional purpose in life, and makes you feel good about yourself. There is a positive power that emanates thorough your life when you enjoy your job. Conversely, when you don’t the opposite occurs.
A journey of employee re-engagement, starts with establishing a vision, then an environment, and a set of conditions that will yield results. The companies that are successful in employee re-enganement spend less time on communication and personnel issues. Because once employees become reengaged then it is much easier to build a focused work team to meet the daily challenges at work. This frees both you and your employees up to tackle more of the fun things.
David Bohm, a British physicist, says, “The notion that all these fragments are separately existent is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion.” In other words, the level of employee’s job satisfaction has a correlation to the organizations profitability. Employees make the company function thorough their energy and efforts. It is not the systems, facilities, procedures and structure. These are indeed essential elements, but in the end it is the employees energy that flows thorough these channels and creates something of value that customers are willing to pay for.
You know you have reached your reengagement goal when your organization is strongly exhibiting these five key attributes:
- Commitment – they belong to the team and are committed to group goals.
- Trust – through a process of support, honoring commitments, maintaining confidences and predictable behaviors.
- Communication – This is both clear and frequent, both internally and externally.
- Participation – actively contributes to group solutions and adds their unique perspective and input into the team process.
- Process Orientation – they effectively deal with issues, problems and seek out innovative solutions.
Reengaging your employees is a low cost high return activity that can sustain your organization’s success. Former Chairman of Procter and Gamble, said, “Productivity comes from people, not machines.” So become known for building ideas and organizations, not for finding fault. I hope this article stimulates your thinking and will provide you with the impetus to internally address the common issue of disengaged employees. Reengaging your employees in a meaningful way will improve your bottom line, but will also contribute to a healthier and happier workplace.