So here’s the bad news: your employees are feeling a little burned out these days. But here’s the good better other news: it’s not just your employees. A recent study by international HR consulting firm TowersWatson shows that fewer than 21 percent of employees surveyed described themselves as “highly engaged” at work, down from 31 percent in 2009. Nearly one-tenth of workers indicated that they were fully disengaged.
The increased lack of engagement comes as no surprise to workplace management expert Holly Green, who recently spoke with me over the phone about how managers can work to re-engage employees. Even managers, Green says, are feeling a little burned out right now, thanks to the extra hours and workloads everyone has had to take on as an effect of the recession. But before trying to re-engage employees, Green says, managers must take two important steps managers first: inform their employees, and then inspire them.
Green, who is the author of More Than a Minute: How to Be an Effective Leader and Manager in Today’s Changing World, was kind enough to share some of the ways she helps managers inform, inspire and then engage their employees in today’s workplace. In the first of a three-part series, below is a checklist for the first part…
Step One: Inform – 7 Key Topics
The first key step to engaging employees is to keep them informed. That is, make sure your employees are clear on their goals and the goals of the company. You want to align your employees and get their buy-in, so this step involves taking a moment to consider these goals. Start by discussing with them the following areas:
- Mission – Why does your company/team/role exist?
- Guiding principles – How will you behave?
- Value proposition – What do you offer key stakeholders?
- Destination – Where is your company going?
- Strategic priorities – What are the areas of focus for the organization?
- Key initiatives – What will you do to get there?
- Impact – What difference do these efforts make to the individual? The job? The team?
7 Key Questions to Ask Yourself
As you go through the process of informing your employees, keep yourself on track by asking yourself the following questions:
- Have I provided clarity recently on these six areas?
- What have I learned in the past 30 days that others on my team may not know?
- Has something changed?
- Did I use multiple channels and speak to multiple preferences?
- Did I keep things positive while discussing the future?
- What can I do to create ongoing management routines to keep team members informed?
- Who can help hold me accountable to do this?
Finally, take a moment to outline the actions you will take to ensure you keep your employees informed on each of these points. Once you’ve clarified your employees’ mission and goals – and how they play into the larger picture, then you’re ready to inspire them. Check back in to The Hiring Site for part II of this series: how to inspire your employees.