Employee engagement is at a stifling low of 32.5% and it doesn’t seem to be moving up anytime soon. The American people are obviously still not happy with their job situations in 2016.
This means that only 32.5% of Americans feel enthusiastic about their work and actively try to further their organization’s interests. There are 67.5% of Americans who don’t care about what they do, how their company does and who are not challenged, engaged, or supported in their jobs. Most of them don’t even have good jobs. That is pretty sad considering we work for the better years of our lives.
A 2016 Gallup poll states that there is a 9.9% unemployment rate and out of all the jobs we do have, only 45% of them are good jobs. What that means is that most Americans are fighting over low-quality, low-paying jobs while there is increasing competition for the skilled “good jobs”. So even if you go to school and get the degree you’re supposed to have, you still might be unemployed or, worse, underemployed.
To top it off, employers don’t even actively engage the workers at these less-than-desirable jobs. Workers feel complacent, unenthusiastic, and basically dead in the proverbial water. People state that they don’t feel like they get to do what they are good at, don’t feel like anybody is there to encourage their development, and they don’t feel like their opinions matter.
So, since HospitalCareers is a site for the people, by the people, we wanted to help discouraged workers feel encouraged. We think jobs are good, after all, we are a job site. So, our question was, how can we help others feel more engaged at work? In the following article, I will show how employers can increase employee engagement and how employees can make the most out of their situation. The name of the game is teamwork. Together, we can help end the disengaged employee epidemic and help make the work environment a more positive one.
In the following article, I will show how employers can increase employee engagement and how employees can make the most out of their situation. The name of the game is teamwork. Together, we can help end the disengaged employee epidemic and help make a more positive work environment.
7 Steps to Increase Employee Engagement:
1. Help Each Other Find Meaning
It’s hard to go through a day doing a job you don’t really want to do and feeling like none of it matters. It’s important to have some purpose or meaning behind something we wake up every day to go do. It’s best to look outside the meaning or value added to the organization, but rather find how your job brings meaning and value to you. Bosses and employees can both benefit from this. At the end of the day, both have to do a job and they would probably much rather be doing something else, so look for what the job does for you.
Think about things like money you get to save, vacations you might get, the car you drive, or, at a base level, think about how your job keeps clothes on your back and food in your mouth. A situation is only as bad as you make it. Help co-workers and bosses see the silver-lining of things, instead of just all the negative. There is some reason you are at your job, whether it be a stepping stone, learning experience, or to meet someone who might impact your life. You just might have to look hard to find what it is.
2. Be Transparent
Nobody likes secrets. We feel lied to or like we’re not trusted when our company withholds information from us. It happens more times than not. But, as employees, we do it too. Transparency is the best way for employees to actively engage in their workplace, and for bosses to increase employee engagement.
Employers disengage employees by not trusting them with sensitive information. When a person feels like they get information withheld, they are more likely to lose interest and feel betrayed. If employers trust their employees, the workers feel like they are part of something big and value it. They gain a deeper investment in the company and their wish to cooperate and help the company grows. Creating a trust gap between employer and employees gives people the “us versus them” mentality; it creates two teams that aren’t fighting for the main goal.
Employees can disengage themselves by not being transparent with their employer. Many times, employers will work to help make employees happier and will accommodate certain things. Organizations hate turnover because it takes time and money out of their pockets; they would rather fix the problems in-house than to lose a person and start over. If you’re not happy with something at work, talk to your boss about it. They will surprise you with how hard they will work with you to find a solution. Remember, there is no way to fix a problem if it is never addressed.
3. Celebrate Success and Progress
It’s nice to feel good about what we do, and it’s nice to celebrate small wins. We can get caught up in completing one task and moving on to another in an endless stream of work. But if we stop to celebrate, it lightens the load and provides a nice break from the monotony. It’s good for employers to set aside some time for their workers to take a break and team-build.
Setting milestones and reaching goals is great, but celebrating them is even better. Imagine that you have to run a 5k, then another one a couple of days later; you get a break in between to replenish your willpower, build up your strength, and celebrate. But think if you had to run the 5k and go straight into another one. It would kill you. You would feel so defeated and worn down that you wouldn’t do your best for the second 5k. This is a lot like work. If you work hard towards a deadline or a product launch and you never get a break at the end to celebrate your success, then you will burn out. Celebrate the small things.
Employees, celebrate your bosses. They work hard and have a ton of stress, so they need a break to celebrate just like everyone else. You all can celebrate together, but specifically, point out where they helped and show them appreciation. It’s good to celebrate as a team, but it’s necessary to give your MVPs the recognition they deserve.
4. Be Authentic
There is nothing worse than hearing the same blanket phrases that everyone else hears. Like when a boss tells you, “you’re doing a good job and you matter to a team,” but they aren’t specific and can’t tell you anything important that you did. This is a case of inauthenticity. When a boss just has to say something to keep morale up or to get their pep-talk in for the day. It usually does more harm than good.
Employees do the same thing. Workers can be fake with co-workers and bosses. It usually comes in the form of not being transparent and letting problems reach a boiling point. Another way inauthenticity happens is when bosses and employees act like robots. They don’t show each other that they are humans with blood pumping through their veins. The more robotic we become, the less authentic we are.
Just save everyone the show and be yourself. You can be professional without being a robot. It’s okay to be human at work. It’s the act that wears everyone down and decreases employee engagement.
5. Thank Each Other
Saying thanks is one of the easiest ways to improve employee engagement. In large companies, it’s hard to get recognition and there isn’t much gratitude going around. But if you genuinely say thank you, you can build trust and improve relationships. This practice isn’t just for bosses. Peer acknowledgment can fill the gaps that management misses.
Managers can’t keep tabs on everybody at all times, so it’s up to employees and co-workers to give recognition where it is missed. You can help your co-workers feel better about their job by acknowledging that they do a good job and thanking them for everything they do to make the workday better.
Just thank someone for being able to do what they do. We live in a thankless world; make sure you don’t create that same type of environment at your job.
6. Do Activities Together
Those that play together stay together. I know it’s cliché, but it’s true. Companies that do team building exercises, and other things outside of the office, build bonds that make their time at the office better. When you consider co-workers and bosses as friends you will do more for them and will be more engaged when you’re at the office.
Playing some type of team sport brings out the humanity in a person. This allows everyone authenticity and builds a bond on a level that you couldn’t if you stayed at the office. Sports enhance communication, visibility among managers and peers, and make people compete; which are all great things to build up work relationships.
Do whatever activity suits you: potlucks, movies, bowling, etc. It will boost morale, build relationships, and open up lines of communication that will enhance overall employee engagement. You can carry over the camaraderie and friendly competition from sports to your job and hopefully make the job a little more fun.
7. Support Each Other
Support is one of the most important aspects of increasing employee engagement. Support from co-workers and bosses is exactly what employees need at a job. Employees who have support are 1.3 times more likely to stay with a company and it increases engagement by 67%. When employees build support groups they can vent frustrations, talk to someone, and enjoy a bit of camaraderie on the job. It’s good to have someone to support you at work. There is nothing worse than working in a place where you have no friends. Just eating lunch with someone can brighten your day.
As employers, you must make sure you support your employees and give them avenues to grow and use their talents. If a worker feels like they aren’t valued or that they aren’t a good fit for their job, they will not be productive. It’s important to give plenty of opportunities to those that want it, and to those that don’t. Giving someone a high value to live up to will most times increase their productivity and make them more engaged in their job.
Support and give value where you can, because more and more workers leave their jobs because they feel like their job doesn’t matter. It comes full circle. Help people find meaning in what they do and support them to flourish and grow into who they want to become. This will improve employee engagement and make a better work environment. Plus, good bosses are supposed to support their employees.
Employee engagement is low and it’s not just the boss’s fault. We all are responsible for our environments. We can put into it positivity or negativity. The best way to improve employee engagement in America is to work as a team. Through teamwork, we can build relationships worth working hard for and support others who need a hand. Most of all, we need to value each other because we are all in it together. When we have value, we can more easily overcome obstacles and make the best of any situation because we know it’s worth it. You get from most things what you put into them; so as employees and employers, we need to put our best into every situation so that we get the best out of them.