BY NANCY SCHUMAN, CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, LLOYD STAFFING
I can’t get no satisfaction I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try, and I try, and I try, and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no
–The Rolling Stones
A CHECKLIST FOR RESCUING DISENGAGED EMPLOYEES
Lately, we have been hearing one word quite a bit when we speak to job candidates. They tell us they are feeling “disengaged.” While they may not actively be looking for a new role, all of these “disengaged” employees are definitely willing to listen to the possibility of new employment opportunities and that typically leads to a conversation on what would motivate them again in their next position and what their current employee could be doing better.
Disengagement is more than a trend. It’s a serious malaise that can be contagious to your whole team – it spreads quickly, like that all too familiar virus. For the last three years the workforce has been in a state of disruption springing from the Covid-19 pandemic. That singular event changed the way we work and has caused ongoing stress and uncertainty for both employees and organizations.
Only 32% of workers are engaged according to Gallup.
SHRM reports that a Gallup survey showed employee disengagement has hit a 9 year high – in fact, Gallup says that in a survey of roughly 67,000 people in 2022 – only 32% of workers are engaged. Many cite the shift to remote or hybrid work as creating feelings of isolation and disconnection from both colleagues and the traditional workplace culture. Other causes of disengagement include job dissatisfaction, lack of growth opportunities (or a clear internal career path) and feeling overlooked or unappreciated by one’s manager.
Employers have two choices:
1. rescue their disengaged workers and bring them back into the fold
2. replace them
It is far more time and cost effective to rescue your team than to hire new, but both strategies require effort and a change in mindset – remember, new employees can quickly become disengaged too if they aren’t nurtured and encouraged.
To bring staff members back to optimum work performance, take a proactive approach.
Here are some ideas:
- Communicate openly and honestly with employees. By keeping your employees informed about company goals, progress, and changes, employers can help employees feel more connected to the organization overall.
- Offer opportunities for growth and development. Employees who feel like they are not growing or developing in their current role are more likely to become disengaged. Employers can combat this by providing opportunities for upskilling and continuing education, as well as clear career advancement paths. Offer webinars, online courses, workshops and other learning methods to infuse personal and professional growth.
- Use recognition and appreciation to highlight teams and individuals. Something as simple as rewarding tenure, business victories or completed projects make people feel good about their work. Why not create and highlight something like “5 facts you might not know about [Name Employee]” to ensure people know their colleagues regardless of location. Consistently offer regular feedback and recognize a job well done.
- Encourage work-life balance. Many employees become disengaged when they feel like they are working too much and not having enough time for personal or family life. Employers can help by promoting a healthy work-life balance and by offering flexible working arrangements. We have seen a real growth in the split work week model – that’s 3 days in the office, 2 remote. In fact, that is the structure we follow here at Lloyd. Give your people a sense of control over their schedule and trust them to do the job without looking over their shoulder.
- Put out an employee engagement survey. Take suggestions, offer anonymity. Encourage your workers to share what is bothering them. Are your policies outdated? What could the organization be doing to be your own “Best Place to Work” winner? Employee engagement surveys are a great tool to understand the reason behind employee disengagement. Once you conduct a survey, share the results, and then act on the feedback provided to improve the work environment. Don’t ignore it – your workforce will expect action.
If you are an individual who is feeling a lack of job satisfaction you need to do some good hard self reflection. Think about when this feeling of disengagement began and what brought it on. Were you feeling this way before the pandemic hit? Disengagement can be a difficult and demotivating experience. However, there ways to self-motivate and get your mojo back without changing jobs.
Here are five suggestions that may help:
Set clear goals. Identify what you want to achieve at work and create a plan to reach those goals. Write down specific, measurable and attainable objectives, and set deadlines to help keep you on track.
- Take ownership of your work. Take pride in your work and approach each task with a positive attitude. Focus on the impact that your work has on the company and your colleagues, and strive to continuously improve. Acknowledge to yourself that your contributions matter!
- Stay organized. A cluttered work environment can be a major source of stress and distraction. Take the time to organize your workspace, prioritize your tasks, and create a routine to help keep you focused. This is especially true if you work remote from home. You need to create a distraction-free workspace that ensures productivity.
- Find purpose. Consider why you got into your field in the first place. What do you love about it? Reflecting on what brought you to your current job may help reignite your passion and motivation.
- Connect with colleagues. Building strong relationships with your coworkers can help create a sense of community and make work more enjoyable. Take the time to speak with and revisit colleagues. Have an online lunch together where you just talk to each other about life! We know of one team who keep their Team cameras on all day and talk to each other the same way as though they were in side by side cubicles.
If you are still feeling like you can’t salvage your situation, examine why that is. Is it the money? Is it the benefits, the schedule, the work itself? If it is any of these factors, you will have to do some due diligence like checking sources like PayScale, Salary.com, Glassdoor and LinkedIn Salary to see if your compensation is out of line. Look at job boards, like Lloyd’s and review positions similar to your own to see what competitors offer. Is the grass really going to be greener someplace else, or do you just need to adjust your personal landscape?
Whichever side of the disengagement line you are sitting on, it is important to be proactive. Never let disengagement fester – it will not get better on its own. An engaged workforce is critical to business success and to individual success. Employees who are fully committed and involved are more productive, provide better customer service and are not ready to jump ship at any moment. An engaged worker is likely to go above and beyond their job duties and take a proactive approach to problem-solving. Companies with engaged workers often experience higher levels of customer satisfaction, increased innovation, and improved financial performance.
By the way, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction was the Rolling Stones’ first number one hit in America, but according to AmericanSongwriter.com it was a team effort – apparently in the long run, good collaboration drives success.