Lack of employee engagement is a problem
According to Gallup’s recent State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. That means a lot of lost productivity and happiness. And disengaged employees are likely to leave your organization. Good leadership and management, with a clearly communicated and believable mission and vision can go a long way to address this issue.
Managers, we’re looking at you
According to Gallup’s State of the American Manager report, “Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores.” One of the tasks of managers is to hire the best talent and continuously engage them. Yes, continuously. Engagement is not only the responsibility of HR.
Managers should know and understand the vision of the organization and how their staff can directly contribute. People want to come to work knowing that they have a purpose and can have an impact—that they aren’t creating reports no one reads or designing something that will never get funded. All employees want to feel trusted, challenged, successful, and a part of something greater than their own duties.
Employee recognition programs might be helpful. Lots of articles are out there giving fun examples of how to recognize and thank employees. You’d think organizations would have higher engagement rates if it is so easy to motivate employees with a bag of Hershey kisses, a profile in the newsletter, or a check for “one million thanks.” Unfortunately quick and easy is not the same as thoughtful, genuine and developmental.
My own experience with employee recognition includes picking out my gift from a catalog of items branded with my organization’s logo. (Whenever I used the item I felt like I was doing the organization a favor by advertising for them.) It also included getting what we all called the “recognition tombstone.” It was a marble paperweight with your name and dates of service. Was the organization asking us to live and die for it? We must be careful that the message we intend to send to others is the same one they are receiving.
We can recognize and express gratitude for each other
This is a good time to decide on how and when to recognize your co-workers, colleagues and employees. Recognize good performance and behaviors now, not once they get that sale, not if they come in earlier, not when they show some initiative. People need to feel motivated NOW. They need to know that their future efforts matter to someone — as well as to their own careers and the future of the organization. How can they believe that if no past efforts have been recognized, celebrated, or even commented upon? And not only recognized, but done so in a way that’s meaningful to them?
The big question we must answer is what really matters to each individual? What motivates one person probably won’t motivate your entire team. To really thank someone you must make enough of an investment in them that you understand what’s meaningful to them.
First, you will be helped if know your own DiSC style. If you’re an i it’s probably not a style stretch for you to offer encouragement and praise. However, how you do that might make your C-style colleagues a bit uncomfortable. They’d like you to show that you believe in their competency by giving them a project they can do independently. Save the shout out and photo on social media for another i-style. (To keep it fair, share them both but don’t expect the C to be excited by it or to re-share it.)
If you’re a C you might need to practice showing a personal interest in the achievements of others. A D-style might feel valued if you help remove an obstacle preventing them from accomplishing a task. An S-style might appreciate the opportunity to learn a new software or go to a conference.
What’s the best way to recognize someone’s good work? Why not ask them? If they aren’t forthcoming with ideas, turn to the Everything DiSC Management profile to identify possible ways.
Remember, we all have at least a little bit of each DiSC style in us. This means we can appreciate recognition efforts that might not be as motivating for us as for others. So it’s important to try a range of ways to say thanks and offer appreciation to find what really moves the individuals you work with.
Rewards aren’t the only solution to getting employees engaged, but if you’re spending the time and effort to identify a memorable reward based on an individual’s style, they will know that their manager cares about them – and that can keep employees engaged.