Business is often talked about in terms of warfare. One such commonality that war and business share is that no organization — be it a squad of commandos or a coffee shop — can work well without a fully committed workforce. Unfortunately, Gallup polls reveal that only 15 percent of employees across the world are fully engaged at work.
It’s understandable from an employee’s perspective. With smartphones and social media, getting distracted at the office is easier than ever. This, however, is usually the symptom of a disease. As with any disease, identifying it requires a diagnosis.
Here are some common reasons for a lack of employee engagement and how to improve it.
Lack of True Leadership
This is by no means a personal attack on your leadership style, but it’s simply too common a factor to ignore. After you’ve risen through the ranks, you’ll have many responsibilities thrust upon you, and perhaps you expect the employees below you to handle their own workload.
However, being a part of a team — or leading one — means being invested in the work being done while also giving the impression that you are invested. Turning your attention away from your employees’ work could make them feel that their work isn’t valuable.
Many of the traits of good leadership focus on nurturing your employees and making them feel comfortable.
One of the running gags in Mike Judge’s 1999 workplace comedy Office Space is the issue of poor communication around the office. A character is reminded several times a day by his various bosses that he mislabeled a report. Anyone who’s worked in a hectic office can relate.
Emails and the internet are thought to make workplace communication easier. While programs like Slack have been shown to increase productivity, there are certainly plenty of drawbacks. The “Several people are typing” message from the app can be intimidating when trying to discuss an important workplace issue, and your point may get lost in the shuffle.
Communication problems in the workplace spread like a contagion, and it should be addressed as quickly as possible.
No Clear Goal
A sense of purpose can be lost with bad communication, but what if you’ve given them no direction at all? Your employees need a reason to come in everyday beyond just a paycheck, so implementing a set of goals to reach each day can help give them that direction.
Goal setting is an easy way to keep employees engaged. It’s been shown to strengthen teamwork and time management.
Lack of InspirationNot every business leader is Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, nor should they be. Often, attempting to be lively in the office can be disastrous. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have the ability to motivate. If it’s a lack of inspiration that you feel is the issue, speak earnestly about your dreams for the company. You may find that your employees might feel the same way.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer