In Australia, Gallup’s recent survey found that 60% of employees are not engaged at work, while a further 16% are actively disengaged. This leaves a small 24% (one quarter) who are engaged in the workplace.
But how can you tell if someone is not engaged?
Usually by a lack of honest feedback, no connection between teammates, a negative atmosphere, and a sense that people don’t really want to be there.
Team engagement begins with its leaders. If they are leading and managing well, and promoting an open line of communication, while setting clear expectations – employees are likely to be engaged in their work.
Engaged teams tend to far more motivated to tackle challenging projects, take initiative, and meet or surpass goals.
Here’s how to build an engaged and motivated team in your business.
Employees want to know who their leader is, what they stand for, and be able to connect with them. In order for this to happen, a leader has to know who they really are, and be comfortable sharing that with others.
Build trust levels
It’s important to create an environment where there is a spoken agreement that everyone is able to freely express how they feel, to feel safe confiding in or disagreeing with someone, and to be vulnerable without fearing the consequences.
Some of the proven ways to do this are by encouraging and celebrating differences between people on your team, not dwelling on the past, and communicating clearly with everyone at all times.
Discover their strengths, and allow your employees to use them
We live in a world that tends to encourage people to be well-rounded, by focusing on their weaknesses and trying to improve them, but this is the fastest route to mediocrity.
When you discover and nurture someone’s innate strengths, you’ll help them feel more confident, and you’ll maximise their performance.
Gallup has done extensive research into this, and created a detailed assessment for individuals and employees to take, to determine what their strengths are, and how they can make the best use of them.
Get clear on the heart of your business, and keep your team in the loop
You should be crystal clear on the principles of your business, who you’re trying to serve, and what the long term and short term goals are.
It’s important that this is shared with your team, and regular updates are given in areas like financial performance. This will help them feel connected to the company, and part of a common goal.
Set clear expectations
If you want your employees to meet your expectations, then make sure you’re clear with them on what those actually are. Give them the tools, training, and resources they need to perform, and give them specific goals so they know what they need to achieve.
Create an open relationship where they feel comfortable asking if something doesn’t make sense or is unclear, and check they know what they’re doing before you finish briefing them.
Even if it’s a simple “thank you,” or “good job,” you’d be surprised how much of a difference a little bit of praise can make. If your team members feel appreciated, they’ll be more engaged and motivated to perform, and likely to stay in their current job longer.
Reward good work in whatever way you like – extra days of leave, gift vouchers, or bonuses.
Ask for feedback regularly
Try and regularly get feedback from each of your team on all aspects of their job role and the company, and make it clear that you’re open to constructive criticism in order to make this a better place for everyone.
When people leave the business, having an exit interview can be really insightful, especially as people on their way out are more likely to be honest rather than those who still work with you – because they have nothing to lose.
Genuinely care about your team and show it
Get to know who your staff are outside of work – what their interests are, and their current life structure – so that you are able to relate to them on a personal level.
This will help them feel like valued people instead of just another cog in a machine. It will also help you get to know them better, and then motivate them more effectively.
Reward those who think outside the box
Encourage your team to think for themselves, take risks, and come up with new ideas and implement them as they see fit. This will show them you value their opinion and believe in them.
Even if those risks don’t always pay off, avoid criticising them and choose to see it as a learning experience so that your team aren’t discouraged from going forward.
Discuss career aspirations
If your employees have career goals, then they immediately have something they can feel like they’re working towards each day, helping them to stay motivated and challenged.
Try to make sure a manager sits down with each person to discuss ambitions, and work on creating a plan for them to help achieve those goals
Create an attractive working environment
Your team are much more likely to enjoy coming to work and being at work if you’ve created a nice environment for them to work in. This doesn’t mean you need a tonne of space or cash. All it means is providing a clean and comfortable space, with everything needed for them to get their job done efficiently.
A nice communal break out area is a plus, because this encourages connection between your team outside of their day to day job role.
Make time for fun!
Just because you’re at work, it doesn’t mean you should be super serious all the time, and have no fun. Ask your team how you can make this a more enjoyable place to work, and ideas for injecting fun into the office. It might mean having a drink on a Friday afternoon together, or having a competition between several teams in the office with prizes for the winners.
Team building days are another great way to ensure you’re all having fun, but also getting to know each other on a deeper level, and building that trust and connection.