4 Research-Backed Tips for Disengaged Employees

One stick figure is climbing up the arrow; another is stuck on a down arrow

What do you do when a previously loyal and engaged employee becomes increasingly disengaged? Refer back to your employee engagement training  for what can cause employee disengagement and follow these four research-backed tips:
  1. Set up a meetingIt seems so obvious, but many managers prefer to ignore signs of disengagement in the hope that things will change or that they will avoid a difficult conversation. They would rather not acknowledge the yawns of boredom in meetings, the substandard performance and the telltale symptoms of burnout. This is a huge mistake. Not only is the behavior unlikely to change without intervention but also the downward spiraling employee can affect the motivation and engagement of others on their team.

    Have the conversation. Be respectful as you ask what is going on. There may be problems at home which need your understanding or there may be problems at work that you can help solve. What caused their initial engagement for the job to flag? What is missing?

  2. Recognize that you may be part of the employee engagement problem
    Very often employee engagement problems lie with poor management practices. Are you managing this employee too much or too little? Are there conflicts on the team that you need to address? Are performance standards or cultural expectations unclear?  Are goals, roles or interdependencies fuzzy? If you have established a relationship built on trust (a critical part of a manager’s job), then you will hear about ways you can improve. Accept the suggestions with an open mind and act upon them.

  3. Make an engagement plan together
    Whatever the problem, seek employee engagement solutions together. Set goals with deadlines. Does your employee want more of a challenge? Then assign a special project with milestones that are tracked regularly. Do they need more training? Then provide development opportunities to build the skills they want and you need. Are they unhappy with their current role? Then see if you can create a new role that builds on their strengths and yet still contributes meaningfully to the team’s purpose.

  4. Stay in touch and encourage their progress
    Check in regularly and show your appreciation for their efforts. You may just need to say a sincere “thank you” now and then. But when there are real results, share the victory publicly with the team. 

Don’t let a once-engaged employee become disengaged without learning exactly what is wrong. You owe this to the employee, your team and your company. The problem may be easily fixed, and you will have regained an engaged employee who appreciates you back!

Download our Employee Engagement and Retention Toolkit Now to Start the Journey

5 Ways to Engage Employees When You Have No Money to Give

A cartoon employee is reaching for a money bonus

What you probably remember most about your employee engagement training is that it is important to recognize high performing employees. But how can you keep employees motivated if business circumstances or economic conditions are such that you have no money to give? 

The good news is that there are many other effective ways to reward and recognize superior performance than with money alone. Employee engagement research tells us that what matters most is that the reward is meaningful to the employee and given with genuine appreciation. Here, based upon employee engagement training participants, are some alternatives to the traditional money incentive:

  1. Simple thanks
    It is surprising how effective a pat on the back, the words “thank you,” or a handwritten note can be in fostering employee loyalty. It costs you nothing but a moment in time. For the employee, however, it feels enormously satisfying to be noticed for their extra hard work.
  2. Public praise
    Most employees really appreciate being recognized for a great job. They are proud to be singled out in front of their peers and publicly thanked. Be specific about what earned them special praise so others know what behaviors company leaders value.
  3. Flex time or an extra vacation day
    Many employees value flexible scheduling. Being able to come in late or leave early according to their personal and family needs is worth a great deal. Can you let some of your high performers work flex hours or work one day a week from home? Can you reward their extra effort with an additional day off? 
  4. Inexpensive but meaningful perks
    Be creative in your employee rewards. How about a dinner out for two for the employee who has had to work late all week and has missed time with their spouse? Or tickets to a pro football game for that sports enthusiast? Or a new lightweight laptop for your traveling sales rep whose arm is sore from toting their old one around?
  5. More responsibilities or access to leadership
    How about recognizing the value of key employees by giving them a better title and, with it, more responsibilities? There should be the promise of a raise to come but, in the meantime, you can show your confidence in them and in their future with the company.

Don’t neglect rewarding superior performance for lack of money to give away. There are many other ways to show your appreciation. Just listen to employee engagement training participants and make the award fair and meaningful.

Want to Grow? 4 Tips to Engage and Retain Your Best Employees

A cartoon when one businessman says to another, "Jumping ship? Not me. the job section just popped up and made me read it."

If you are planning to grow the business, you had better invest in employee engagement training and be sure your employee engagement scores are high. Otherwise, you will lose the top talent upon whom your growth depends. You will spend far too much time trying to fill empty slots. Isn’t it smarter to focus on engaging and retaining those good employees who are currently in place?

Okay, so you don’t want to lose good employees. High employee attrition is one of the top signs of a low performing organizational culture.  First, you need to define and shape a high performance corporate culture that aligns with your corporate strategy.  Then you need to find out what attributes they are looking for in a satisfying job and make sure you provide them. Here are 4 tips on engaging employees and retaining top-notch talent.

  1. Attract and hire the right people in the first place.
    Hire those candidates who will be a good organizational culture fit first, are enthusiastic about your company vision second, and have the right skills and experience third. Very rarely is the first applicant the best. You need to be patient. And believe me, it is worth waiting. A poorly hired candidate will absorb time, effort and money before they move on. Wouldn’t it be smarter to take the time now and not later on a mistaken hire?  When it comes to hiring new talent, never settle.  Take the time to get it right.
  2. Take a genuine interest in your employees.
    Show that you care about them both personally and professionally. Learn what motivates them and what they like best to do. Recognize their extra efforts and offer them growth opportunities so they feel appreciated for their contribution and can envision a challenging career path ahead.
  3. Hold everyone accountable.
    This includes you. Be sure that you as the boss set clear performance expectations and do what you say you will do. Employees look to you as the standard of behavior. The way you handle commitments, no matter how small, becomes symbolic of your trustworthiness and character.

    And this includes each member of your team. If you have a low-performing employee, try to figure out what is wrong and to help them correct course. Until you solve the problem, other team members will lose heart. Why should they work hard if a slacker is ignored? The whole team’s morale can be poisoned if you allow one employee off the hook.
  4. Stay tuned in.
    Trust and open communication is the foundation for building a strong team. Each team member needs to know that they can ask questions, offer opinions and suggest ideas for improvement without repercussion. Develop a “behavior code” for meetings to encourage a free exchange of ideas and constructive debate.  People should be able to give and receive feedback in a straightforward manner. Set the stage by welcoming input and accepting criticism with humility.
The four tips above are basic to a positive environment where employees are engaged. To know what else they would value, simply ask them!

Where Employee Engagement and Corporate Culture Connect

cartoon of a smiling businessman working at his desk with piles of paper thinking "I love my job"

Employee engagement and corporate culture are so interconnected that they seem at times to be two sides of the same coin…engagement at the individual level and a high performance organizational culture of satisfaction at the organization level. Here’s what we mean…

When you think about what motivates employees to expend discretionary effort on the job, you might choose money and benefits as what would matter most.  You would be wrong. Based upon using our employee engagement survey with over 500,000 employees each year, less than 10% of employees reported that these tangible rewards were what motivated them to go above and beyond. Instead, 33% listed “Trust in Senior Leaders” as being in the Top 10.  

Based upon over 25 years of consulting with high growth clients, we know that trust forms the foundation of a high performance culture and highly engaged employees.

Here are some of the other motivators that were singled out at the top: employees’ own pride and wish to do a good job, their desire to have a meaningful impact, their eagerness to be recognized and encouraged and their hope to grow professionally through a career development program. All of these motivators are what we emphasize in our employee engagement training as significant indicators of a great-place-to-work environment. And all of these factors are what build a strong and viable culture.

To build the organizational culture that encourages higher employee engagement, here are three things you can do:

  • Define the corporate culture you want to best execute your business and talent strategies and select and promote employees who embody the behaviors you seek. For example, if you strive for an organizational culture that is collaborative, supports open communication and encourages a healthy work-life balance, then you should train and coach employees toward these values.

  • Secure management agreement and support. Make sure your managers are committed to your corporate culture and values.  Then make sure they consistently model and reward them. When leadership sets the example and rewards the desired behaviors, employees will follow suit.

  • Provide opportunities for growth. Recognize desired behaviors in a way that is meaningful and fair to employees. Give them a chance to develop new skills. Give them feedback that will help them learn from mistakes and empower them with the confidence to try again.

If you want employees to “love their job,” you should create an environment where they work with people they trust, are recognized for doing the right things in the right way, know that their contribution matters and have opportunities to continuously build their skills.

How to Engage Employees with a Recognition Program that Works

cartoon of the employee of the month getting to be the first on the elevator; other employees are disgruntled

Any employee engagement training program worth its salt will make the point that recognition for extra effort and results is a critical piece of employees’ satisfaction with their job. 

The “Employee of the Month” above can hardly feel that the reward was worth the work it took to achieve the title. And look at her colleagues…they are not spurred to greater effort for such a meager and irrelevant reward. Recognition programs that are not clearly connected to desired behaviors and outcomes, not fairly managed, and not worth striving for in employees’ eyes can do more damage than good.

To improve employee engagement, you need to do it right. Employee reward and recognition programs should drive the specific behaviors that impact business results and should promote employee engagement in terms of discretionary effort, advocacy and loyalty.

Based upon decades designing and delivering employee engagement training programs, here are our recommendations for establishing and implementing a recognition program that employees will support and value:

  1. Find out what employees want. 
    Get employee input on what kind of rewards and recognition they would find motivating and encouraging. When they help design the program and the rewards to be offered, they are more likely to look forward to being recognized themselves.

  2. Make the process flexible and easy. 
    Some recognition programs are so complex and difficult to implement, they quickly fail; the behaviors to be rewarded are vague and the forms to fill out are lengthy. Behaviors should be simple to observe and the nomination process easy to implement.

  3. Base it (at least some of it) on peer-to-peer recognition. 
    It should not just be managers in charge. The program will be much more widespread and popular if it encourages peers to select worthy colleagues for recognition.

  4. Choose rewards that appeal. 
    Gift cards are overused and, according to many, do not produce results. Instead, how about access to new development opportunities? Or perhaps the chance to attend a high-level leadership meeting? What employee would not seek to enhance their tool set or have a chance to meet some executives and observe how decisions are made at the corporate level?

  5. Tout the program at every opportunity. 
    Give the recognition program the publicity it deserves. Leadership should promote it; managers should support it; employees should welcome and brag about it. Beyond encouraging and rewarding desired behaviors, it can be a great recruiting tool.

Be smart about the recognition program you put in place. A good one will go far to increase employee engagement by ensuring that employees will be recognized if they contribute to the organization's success. A poorly designed and implemented one will do just the opposite.

Get a Good Start on Employee Engagement

a runner is poised to begin a race

Today’s savvy corporate leaders understand the importance of an engaged workforce. They all want the competitive edge that engaged employees give their business in terms of growth, profitability, innovation and customer satisfaction.

Many of these companies aspire to win the coveted Great Place to Work award sponsored by Fortune magazine. Nearly 1,000 applied in 2016. The companies are rated by a random sample of employees. About two-thirds of the survey deals with questions about overall job satisfaction, degree of cooperation with co-workers and manager’s credibility. The remaining one-third of the composite score is based on such considerations as pay and benefits, development options, diversity, hiring practices, etc. Once again Google was Number One overall.

The data has been sliced and diced in many ways because they provide a ready-made sample of companies who, at least in their own estimation, have understood the challenge of aligning their talent and their culture with their business and people strategies. This alignment, we know, is the basis for a successful organization that can thrive into the future.

Because of our focus for over two decades with clients in the field of employee engagement training, we pay special attention to what can be learned from the company rankings. What do the most successful companies do to deserve a place on the Top 100 Best Companies to Work? Certainly employee trust in the company’s management to lead well and fulfill their company’s mission is foremost. But pay and benefits are also consistently rated very high. 

A critical indicator of employee engagement is that employees feel they are being paid fairly and in line with pay for similar jobs elsewhere. They like to know that they can have their fair share of company profits. They work hard and happily when they feel compensated for the work they do and appreciated for the role they play.

While standard health and medical benefits typically have a low correlation with employee engagement compared to other areas in the survey, what you offer employees outside of standard benefits can play an important part of positive engagement. These can vary widely from company to company and should be driven by the corporate values and organizational culture. For some, the idea of an in-house dry cleaning service has value while others appreciate having a workout gym on site. At LSA Global, we offer unlimited vacation, flexible working hours and an uncapped sharing of corporate profits …it all depends upon your talent management strategy and what your employees care most about.

The bottom line is that, for your employees to be engaged, you need to start with the basics by ensuring that your rewards and recognition policies are in line with what your employees expect, deserve and value.

Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/leading-for-employee-engagement/

5 Do’s and Don’ts When Recognizing Employees

A happy cartoon figure holds a bonus reward

Did you know that 8 out of 10 employees don’t feel the love? 

When asked, they don’t feel that their managers fully appreciate their contributions. That is sad. But the impact on morale and productivity should be even more worrisome to business leaders than hurt feelings. 4 out of 10 employees said they would work harder at their jobs if they were recognized more often. Wake up, employers! Recognize your employees when they do a good job…and it doesn’t even have to set you back financially.

Here is what we tell our clients who look to us for employee engagement training in order to boost productivity.  An important factor in engaging employees is overcoming the so-called recognition deficit. It is easy, inexpensive and should become a part of your company culture. 

A few do’s and don’ts:

  • Be authentic in your appreciation.
    A pat on the back, if sincerely given, is worth far more than a company tchotchke dropped on someone’s desk.
  • Be specific in your praise.
    Point out just what behavior you observed and how it aligns with company values. Not only will the recognition feel personal but it will reinforce desired behaviors.
  • Don’t wait to recognize only the spectacular wins; appreciate the small ones all along the way.
    Yes, your sales team may eventually reach their quarterly goal but their success will be made up of many deals on that path to the revenue target.
  • Show respect for their contribution by sharing information with your employees. There is nothing to be gained by keeping your employees in the dark or protecting them from important information. Keep your employees informed so they know where the company is headed and how what they do contributes to the company’s future wellbeing.
  • Have some fun.
    Recognition doesn’t have to be serious. Be creative in the way you recognize extra effort…silly but personal gifts or a surprise brunch for the person who never has time to eat a good breakfast before they come to work.

Just don’t neglect how important engaged employees are to business success. Recognize them often, sincerely, personally, specifically and in a timely way. And those employees will pay you back with their loyalty, discretionary effort, commitment and advocacy for you and the company as a whole. 

Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/leading-for-employee-engagement/