Did you know: 21% of the global workforce considers themself actively engaged in their work right now (loyal, passionate, positive, enjoying their work.) 38% are actively disengaged (meaning they're complaining, bringing morale down, looking for another job, etc.) And the remaining 41% aren't sure where they stand. Wow.
Does that suprise you? Suprised me, but then not too much because I've watched chaos, schedules, technology, travel and the demand for instant results and response increase dramatically over the years. We are busy! We can get ahold of each other in ways now that can make one dizzy. Technology in many cases is replacing face to face contact. Travel on Sunday for a Monday morning meeting is becoming quite the norm. So it doesn't suprise me that the following things are some of the challenges we're bumping up against.
Some of the biggest concerns/challenges those in the "disengaged and unsure categories" report are things like:
1. Lack of a good "work/life" balance,
2. Lack of understanding how their work is important or impacts the bottom line,
3. Not being matched up with roles that evoke their passion and strengths,
4. Not being recognized or engaged with by their leaders enough.
As a leader in your organization, would you like to do something about that? Studies show that if you move a "disengaged employee" to being an "engaged employee", you get an instant increase in productivity of 20 percentage points. Not bad. Seems to me that would be worth doing something about. How about you?
So what to do, what to do?
Here are some ways you can address personal sustainability AND engagement AT the same time.
ONE: Design "Personal Sustainability Time" into your day.
Schedule more regular breaks for your team, schedule in workouts, bring healthier choices for food into your office and meetings, provide a "decompression" or "renewal room" on site, whatever feels like a good next move. It doesn't have to be a significant thing or chunk of time; even taking regular 10 minute breaks every 90-120 minutes can do wonders.
What's most important is putting a stake in the ground for yourself and your team that says "this is important, you're important; I'm going to do it myself and I'm going to honor our team by supporting you in doing it as well." And then doing it. And staying with it. It's that kind of a stand, even if by subtle action, that makes an impact and has people realize you mean it.
TWO: Link people's jobs to the bottom line.
You don't have to do this by yourself but rather challenge your people to link what they're doing in their roles to the major goals, outcomes and initiatives in the company. Help them see the importance of their work in relationship to what the team and organization is trying to accomplish. In this busy busy world, with all the excitement and stress of day to day life, it is quite easy to disconnect from "why I'm doing this work and what's important about it." Reconnect with that, and you'll be reconnected with some passion and purpose. (Which ties into personal sustainability by the way in the area energy boosters and joy.)
BTW, if you're not connected (or if they're not), it's a good cue to look at what role they're playing and whether or not they are matched appropriately for that role.
Which leads us to the next point.
THREE: Are your people matched up with the right roles that excite, invigorate and give them a place to shine?
Are they passionate about their work? Are they in roles that are the best use of their strengths and energy? Do they get to showcase their gifts and talent? (A win win for all by the way.) If not, it's a fabulous opportunity to see where things can be rematched and leveraged. It makes perfect sense right? If I'm not loving my work and passionate (or aware) about my purpose, and not playing to my strengths, I'm probably not going to be giving it 100% and I'm definately not going to be as engaged as I could be.
There's so much opportunity here for you as a leader. Often it's just little tweaks, but the intention and action can be priceless in positive impact. Want a good resource for learning about energetice preferences and matching people with roles and tasks that are the best use of them? Check out the 5Dynamics Assessment on our website.
FOUR: Finally, how engaged do your people feel with you?
Do they feel seen, cared about, acknowledged, respected, honored, important, visible, etc? Or not?
Connection to human beings is not only a key element of feeling engaged, it's also key to the human spirit - we want to be connected to others. If even in a quiet way, connection is important. Yes, ideally it takes two to engage, to "lean in" AND as many of my clients hear me say again and again, the best place to make an impact here and make sure this is getting done, is to be the first to engage.
Make it a point this month to FULLY engage daily with at least 10 different people in your life. If even for 2 minutes, dare to fully engage. Notice your impact, and see what shows up.
These are all things you can start doing in one way or another today.
So pick one thing or four, whatever feels meaningful AND do-able. Something that you can write down (right now) and create a tangible action plan with. As with all of these, you may not see the full impact of the fruits of your labor immediately. But stick with it, they'll be there. You may not be able to engage everyone. You may not be able to impact all of them. You may only be able to have an impact on ONE person today. (Although I guarantee you're impacting more people than you realize.) But imagine the impact you can have on that ONE person, and what impact they'll have on another, etc.
Remember the story of the little boy and the starfish? It's one of my favorites and I've included it below as a special bonus this month.
Final query, what kind of a leader do you want to be? One who fully engages his/her people and inspires them to do the same, or not? This month, think about WHO you want to be and who you are becoming as a leader in your life, your family and your organization. This month, commit to doing something extra to grow even more into that person. After all, even Tiger Woods consistently seeks to improve his game. How about you? Got game?
Anese Cavanaugh is a certified coach, author and speaker and the founder of Dare To Engage, Inc., a company devoted to helping leaders become top leaders in their organizations and their lives through coaching and training. Her specialty is helping leaders build a healthier, more engaged workforce, retain their top talent, develop greater authentic engagement and create stronger personal sustainability. She holds a degree and multiple credentials in the areas of coaching, wellness, leadership development and health & productivity improvement. For more about Anese or the Dare To Engage Programs or to receive a complimentary report and audio on "Energy & Results" go to www.DareToEngage.com.