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Keeping Your Team Engaged

Even the most driven person can find it challenging these days to stay focused from the home office. So if you are a leader and have a team that seems to be...let’s say drifting, you’re not alone.

In many companies, hours have been cut to stay sustainable as the weeks drag on. Even if you are open for business, it’s very likely people that you do business with are either closed or operating in a scaled-down manner. For example, maybe you don’t own a restaurant, but if you are in marketing, supplies, maintenance, or many other sectors, they are likely a good part of your business.

With less work to do, the stress these days (and I concur) is on development, both professional and personal. Now that there is time to take care of these things, however, many people don’t see an end game so it’s difficult to paint the picture of WHY it’s important. If you don’t know what drives your employees, I will again beat the assessment drum.

Finding what motivates people really is the secret to success. The good news is that in any economy or circumstance, motivators don’t really change. So this is your first step if you haven’t already taken the time and investment: have each of your team members take a personality assessment so that you, great leader, can tap into what drives them forward. When you can understand that, you can EXCITE your employees into becoming better thinkers, better producers, and most importantly, better and happier people.

If you aren’t sold on the idea of spending money on your employees right now, let’s consider a few interesting findings:

  • A Gallup poll found that no matter the company, there are AT LEAST 17.2 percent of employees who are disengaged. That’s 1 in every 6! Disengaged employees are defined as unhappy, unproductive, and worse - likely to spread their negativity to others. They’re a human virus if you think about it.

  • For every salary, this costs you 34 percent. In other words, let’s say you have a disengaged employee who receives $50,000 per year. For that person, it’s like taking $17,000 and throwing it out the window. (Suddenly an assessment doesn’t sound so expensive now, does it?) This again is just one employee.

  • If you have 100 employees, the above calculation would give you 17 such disengaged people. You can estimate the median salaries across your company to figure out the bigger dollar amount, but I’ve come across a calculator so you can see the sobering statistics yourself.

I’m truly not trying to scare you, but rather put things into perspective. If you’re concerned about a little investment toward everyone on your staff, it’s “penny-wise, pound-foolish” thinking.

There are a lot of things you can do as well even in the midst of Zoom conference calls and social distancing. Just asking your employees to take an assessment is a great first step because you are showing an interest in what matters to them. Feeling appreciated and validated goes a long way toward retaining good employees.

Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Inspiration: invite a speaker (again, we live in a virtual world, so this can still work and even more effectively for businesses that span the country) to lift them. Whether it’s someone who focuses on motivation, or another expert in their field that they will see as highly relatable and credible, it’s also a sign of your interest in building their skills and expanding their knowledge base in a non-traditional way.

  • Cross-training: offer the opportunity to learn what others in the organization do, perhaps one day each week. I’d suggest a role that is related to theirs, where they can build a better understanding of how their work impacts others and vice versa. Generally this also ends up with finding solutions to problems that occur in a process, and at the least can build better relationships among employees.

  • Education and skills training - provide the ability for your decent sales people to really excel with additional training. Or perhaps your rock stars would serve the company even better with a management training program that could position them to become leaders to further grow your business.

  • Have fun - Especially these days, we’re all getting sick of hearing the word “no.” However, there are still ways to safely engage with activities that have little to do with work. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy! Online trivia or other interactive games may be a possibility, but depending on your area, you may even be able to do something in person.

The point is that we all have gotten stuck in a rut along the way -- even the most motivated among us. Consider these ideas a cold bucket of water over the head, something to shake us out of the COVID daydream we’ve been forced into. I would love to help create a customized presentation to help motivate your team, as well. And I promise I will leave the bucket of cold water out of it.