Poor Employee Engagement + Dr. Jim

Lately, across industries there have been consistent talks of different employment trends– quiet quitting, the great resignation, layoffs, talent gap, and the list goes on.  

In light of all these things,  I appreciate how Dr. Jim’s most recent posts are addressing the symptoms of poor employee engagement.  Let’s face it. For the quiet quitters or those resigning, they are likely suffering from one or more of the symptoms Dr. Jim mentions.  The question is: Are managers, leaders, and organizations ready to consider what is making employees so dissatisfied with their working environments and to be willing to walk with empathy to re-engage these employees and turn the tide?

Some of the symptoms include poor productivity, poor morale, poor communication, high turnover, and poor quality of work, but this is certainly not the exclusive list.  

I once had a client whose turnover was at 90%, and they couldn’t understand how to make meaningful progress on projects, process improvements, implementing new systems or programs, etc.  They had little to no documentation in place for transition of knowledge, so the initial onboarding period for every employee wasn’t necessarily training but researching what was in place or establishing the current state.  By the time this information was learned, the new hire burned out and left without documenting or transferring the knowledge to someone else; thus the cycle continued.  

Now large organizations feel this less because they can tend to absorb poor employee engagement. However, small to mid-size, start ups, and even nonprofits really struggle because there are simply not enough people or hands to do the work.  If one person is not carrying his or her weight, it’s felt by the entire organization.  

There are many ways to solve these issues, but the number one recommendation is for the manager to engage first and foremost.  Now more than likely, that manager has a lot on their plate, but this must become a priority if the company is going to succeed in the long run.

Here are some of the best practices that I have used or seen.  Some may think that all of these are going to take lots of time and effort on the part of the manager; however these things can take as little or as much time as one is able to give.  What I would say is that at the beginning of re-engaging an employee, it takes a little more time, but once trust and understanding is established, less time will be needed because effective communication will be in place, running smoothly and more efficiently.  

  1. Connecting – Always be listening. Be present in the conversations, executing effective two way communication
  2. Putting action to your words and promises.  Your words must carry weight, meaning, and tangible results.  This will lead them to trust you which is the key to all of this.  
  3. Incorporating some mentoring into your management style – Mentoring can look like coaching, accountability, therapy or just an ear to listen.  When someone feels mentored, they believe they can approach you at any time with any question or problem.  They walk away feeling heard and having ideas for solutions.  They believe they can stand on your shoulders and go to the next level with you cheering them on.  
  4. Being your true authentic self- This is sometimes harder than you think but more important than you will ever realize.  Not only do you owe it to yourself, but to your mentees, colleagues, and other leaders who are watching you.  

The most important practice out of all of these is you being your authentic self at all times.  It can and should permeate everything you say and do. Even if you aren’t spending that moment with that employee, they are reading your communications or hearing you in meetings, and that engagement and trust is being cultivated.  

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