Not unlike romantic relationships, employees’ relationships with work often have peaks, valleys, and plateaus. Similarly, the working relationship also begins with a honeymoon-like phase. Much like personal relationships, inevitably the honeymoon ends and the employees’ fiery passion fades to embers that require stoking to reignite.When managers neglect to add extra kindling to the fire, they risk having their employees become actively disengaged, and ultimately invite turnover into their organization. Unfortunately, turnover is expensive: The Bureau of National Affairs estimates that US businesses lose $11B annually to turnover. Considering these facts, it’s in a manager’s best interest to invest in engaging and retaining the employees on their teams today.
To rekindle your employee’s passion for work, try these tactics:
Get to know each other
When was the last time your conversation with an employee consisted of more than deliverables? Don’t underestimate the value of lunchroom banter; those conversations by the water cooler are the building blocks of engaging employees in the workplace. Employees are keen to work harder for a manager who takes a personal interest in them and engages with them on a personal level.
Provide opportunities for innovation and reward participation
Identify a problem within your organization, and put together a structured competition for employees to put forth their solutions, either as teams or individuals, and allow them to vote and build upon each other’s ideas. The leading barrier to social employee engagement is often a lack of strategy and competing priorities. You can circumvent this when you present the challenge with a structure for participation and a system for rewards and recognition. Instead of chasing engagement with cash, innovative engagement programs like this will reward employees with recognition from their peers and managers. In doing so, employees stay engaged in their work and feel appreciated for their contributions.
Schedule celebratory dates with your employees and be ready to mingle. Whether it’s a firm lunch, or a commitment to celebrating company-wide birthdays, these events provide team members the opportunity to interact on a personal level with each other. Not only are these events integral to your employees’ work-life balance, they also serve as a great opportunity for gauging the general attitude and engagement levels in your office.
If you can’t personally commit the time to planning these employee engaging events, present the opportunity to your teams to have a cross-divisional committee that plans and executes events. The employees that volunteer for this sort of committee are usually committed to sparking pre-event excitement and enjoy coordinating birth-month office parties, anniversary lunches, and holiday themed events.
Make it count
Employees want to feel as though their work is meaningful. It is very difficult to become excited or passionate about one’s work when it feels as though it is of little direct benefit to the organization. Do your employees know how their work contributes to the organization’s goals? Are KPI’s understood and celebrated when targets are hit? How will their hard work will be rewarded? Profit sharing programs or year-end bonuses are a great way to engage employees in the success of the business and to ensure that everyone is pushing in the same direction.
Listen to your employees
Asking employees for feedback and implementing their ideas may well be the easiest way to engage your workforce. Involving your employees in this way also fosters innovation within your organization, and engages your employees in defining their own success. If your employees feel they contribute to decision making, they’ll feel more entrenched in the team and committed to jointly working toward organizational success.
Give praise where praise is due
It’s no surprise that people appreciate being recognized for a job well done. According to research by O.C. Tanner, in companies that focus on recognition to enhance engagement, 89% of employees are actively engaged in their work, as opposed to only 44% of employees being actively engaged at companies that place no value on recognition. On a similar note, in a Harvard Business School study, it was identified that recognition given to high performers is the number one employee engagement driver. By complimenting deserving employees’ outstanding work, your team members will be motivated to repeat their positive behaviors and overall morale will be improved.