It is a well-known fact that employee engagement, or the willingness to go the extra mile, is a valuable measure of organizational health. Whether people are working from home, or at a company location, their degree of engagement in the work is as important as ever to organizational success. However, as we all operate in challenging times it may be harder to engage with the people who work with us in an effective way.
As a leader, it is critical to keep your eye on the level of engagement of your people. In this environment, it may be easier for those who were “on the fence” in terms of their commitment to your organization, to start slipping away. Although they may stay will the organization because of a tight job market, they may spend time on a passive job search, or not work as hard or care as much they did previously. As soon as job conditions change, they could move on to a different situation without you ever knowing why. Or worse yet, they could stay and be totally checked out.
It is imperative to start watching now for the forces that might drive their disengagement and take action to eliminate them. Although the current situation may be different, the drive people have to do their job and stay engaged in their work are universal principles. According to research from the Predictive Index, a Behavioral Assessment Company, there are four clear forces that drive disengagement. They are:
- Dissatisfaction with the Job – Do the interests, aptitudes, and skills of the associate still fit the requirements of the job, especially in this new environment? Do they get proper direction, have a sense of accomplishment, and feel competent in the role they are asked to perform?
- Dissatisfaction with their Manager – A poor relationship with their direct manager is one of the main reasons why people leave their jobs. Do associates have good relationships with their managers that are productive and positive? Do managers seek to understand who their people are and what they are all about?
- Dissatisfaction with their Team – Is the associate pulling their weight and getting along with other members? Do they operate in their silo without regard to the impact their actions have on others?
- Dissatisfaction with the Culture – Does the individual still think they belong? Do they feel like their personal values are supported by the organization? Do they still buy into the promise of the organization and the methods used to achieve them?
Without awareness of what’s happening with associates, a leader could be missing out on signals that some level of disengagement exists. If not acted upon early enough organizations could face challenging situations due to poor performance or the loss of high potential talent. As a leader, your internal radar needs to be tuned to the signs of dissatisfaction, especially when external stressors and internal anxiety may magnify feelings.
Fortunately, you can have a positive impact on each of the four forces of disengagement. When you are aware of these issues, action can be taken to turn poorly engaged people into employees whose commitment is reignited. In stressful times, just reaching out and having authentic conversations with your associates can open up a deeper more substantial dialogue. This can give everyone a “we’re all in this together” feeling that can be a source of motivation now and positive memory in the long run. When you take the lead in this way, associates can become more productive and satisfied with the part they play in achieving what’s personally important to them while continuing to help move the organization toward its goals.