Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick, founders of ‘The Culture Works’, deliver a compelling message in their article on www.inc.com on how to re-engage employees who are disengaged.
Despite all the hard work bosses have invested in recent years to be caring and attentive, statistics show employees aren’t buying it.
The authors say “the average employee spends about fifteen hours a month complaining about his or her manager.
That’s twenty-two full working days a year, an entire month of workdays spent grumbling and getting nothing done”.
It takes a concerted effort to re-engage people who have checked out. Leaders are obligated to don the coach hat, no longer the player hat.
So what steps can a leader take to help their employee check back in?
How to re-engage employees who are disengaged
1. Believe in Them Again
The old adage ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ does not apply in this situation.
Take the example of a sales rep at a mid-size company who had worked for his organisation for 20 years, and had been a top producer, but a new strategic-sales direction had left him floundering.
Having gone from the top 10 to the bottom 10 in rapid time, the leaders of this organisation were preparing to dismiss the employee.
So how did they turn it around?
They invested their time in the disengaged employee.
They reassured him that they believed he could do it. They actively listened to his concerns and they started to find ways for him to sell in this new world and ultimately helped him play to his strengths.
2. Learn What Their Aspirations Are
Anyone who has worked in a call centre understands the concept of WIIFM. What’s In It For Me.
Elton and Gostick suggest that the best managers learn specifically what motivates each of their people, especially those who are disengaged, and create opportunities for their people to grow and develop.
A great manager doesn’t see the success of their employees as a result of their own ability, but that of their employees own talent.
3. Appreciate Them
Very few managers will admit to under-appreciating their staff, primarily due to the fact that they simply aren’t aware that they’re lacking in that respect.
It is, however, one of the driving factors in employee disengagement. Rosabeth Moss Kanter of the Harvard Business School suggests that “in the most innovative companies, there is a significantly higher volume of thank-you’s than in companies of low innovation.”
Recognition is not only good for the disengaged, but it’s a good overall business practice.
To rebuild positive, productive relationships with checked-out team members, praise should outweigh criticism by a 5-to-1 margin.
These seemingly soft skills create tangible common bonds and single-mindedness about achieving the right behaviours.