Are your employees becoming disengaged employee’s? Our friend Bruce Cazenave at Nautilus, Inc. just published this wonderful insight into the world of motivating and instilling excitement within the ranks of employee’s. Today one of the major problems our companies face is the loss of interest in the company and products by employee’s, and they are not engaged actively with the brand. Motivating their behavior is not complex, and can be successfully achieved with a few insights into understanding what people need in todays workplace to engage them in the brand and positive behavior. Thanks Bruce for a great article.
5 Cures for Disengaged Employee Syndrome
It’s no surprise that increasing employee engagement continues to rank at the top of the list of challenges for many companies. Because, as we know, this directly impacts retention, turnover rates and company culture.
How do you engage employees?
It’s easy to identify the importance of having engaged employees, but there are no quick fixes if your workforce is checked out. It takes hard work, commitment from leadership, and the recognition that your employees are the heart of your organization. If they are engaged, then untapped market opportunities — as well as internal operating improvements — surface more readily, and generally good things can happen for the company.
After spending many years at companies of all sizes and in varying financial conditions and states of employee morale, I have found that the following five core principles have proven effective time and time again. The desired goal is to create a healthy workplace culture where employees are active and enthusiastic contributors who care deeply about their work, even to the point of feeling invested in the company’s success.
1) Tear down the walls.
Build trust and elevate your employees by taking an egalitarian approach to the workplace and your leadership style. By setting a tone of inclusivity, you’ll foster teamwork, and cross collaboration will thrive. Be humble and approachable — clearly we need more of these kinds of leaders. There is no shortage of instances of the negative impact out-of-touch and narcissistic bosses have on employee welfare and the company as a whole.
At our Nautilus, Inc. headquarters, we’ve intentionally kept our workspaces more open to promote opportunities for employee interaction and connection. This has been highly beneficial for our teams, including driving stronger communication across all departments and inspiring more collaborative efforts.
2) Share the vision.
I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Commit to regularly communicating the company vision to ensure that employees understand how the entire organization works and their role in its overall growth potential. Tell them regularly where the company is headed and why they are needed in order to succeed — this is critical to building advocacy and engagement.
To make this actionable, we launched a strategic initiative called Organizational Excellence to nurture and channel our employees’ energy to achieve the goals we’ve laid out. It’s one of the key ingredients in our employee engagement “secret sauce” and embodies everything from communication and celebrating success, to fun activities, like our annual employee kickball league, summer patio events and chili cook-offs.
3) Seek out employee ideas.
Encourage your leadership team to solicit creative ideas, seek opinions and welcome differing points of view from employees. This leads to better collaboration and greater innovation, and this combination can translate into a real competitive edge in the marketplace. Experts recommend having a clear process in place to effectively channel and cultivate your employees’ entrepreneurialism.
We’ve applied this mindset to every aspect of our company and positively leveraged the innovation that comes from a wide range of personal backgrounds, ages, experiences and skill sets. This has led to truly game-changing fitness products, exceptional customer service techniques, as well as enhanced overall organizational practices. Although you may not be able to implement every idea and have limited resources, this approach has many benefits for boosting employee involvement and making them feel invested in your company and its goals.
4) Be an active listener.
It’s important for leadership to have “big ears” to keep a pulse on your workforce. Listen and solicit feedback in a genuine and non-threatening way. I firmly believe in an open door policy, and the same is true of our entire leadership team. Employees know they are always welcome to swing by and ask questions, discuss ideas and offer suggestions — no appointment necessary.
Don’t stay holed up in your office either. Get out frequently, walk the halls, get to know every employee by name and seek to learn unique things about them. Employees are open to share if you ask questions and have genuine interest, and, of course, reciprocate by sharing things about yourself.
5) Give employees the floor.
Empower your employees to have a voice in improving the workplace with regular meetings and two-way communication — encourage them to bring up issues or problems and provide input for coming up with solutions, as well as improving processes.
An annual survey to measure employee engagement and satisfaction should be taken seriously, and not dismissed as a trendy HR tool. This can guide your company on the path to improvement. Commit to it, share the results, and act on the information to prove to your employees you really are listening and caring about their well-being.
When our employees told us loud and clear that they wanted more latitude to blend their personal and professional lives, we took this to heart. We celebrate Bring Your Child to Work Day with family-oriented events, and at Halloween we turn the entire building into a big fest for hundreds of our employees’ kids. We’ve also opened up our wellness fairs and on-site gym to the whole family.
There are many examples of companies that keep employee engagement alive and well. If you haven’t done so, take a look at your own corporate culture and see how it stacks up. Be inspired and get ideas from their playbooks. It takes time and fine-tuning to get the employee satisfaction formula right.
How will you know if it’s working?
Here at Nautilus, the signs of a healthy workplace are clear in everything from our strong financial performance and product design innovation awards to high employee retention rates and robust participation in our annual engagement survey where corporate culture was ranked No. 1.
But this hasn’t always been the case — as the company went through tough times a number of years ago. Getting employees engaged was a challenge. It took an overhaul of the workplace environment during the past few years to create and foster the culture our company enjoys today.
Even with a company of over 300 employees, everyone is on a first-name basis as a result of internal communications programs — such as our Final Friday’s speakers representing different departments, and video message boards — that keep us connected and informed. We ensure that teamwork and camaraderie are further strengthened through cross-collaboration initiatives, and through participation in our internal kickball league, interest groups and volunteer activities.
By offering meaningful wellness programs and opportunities for our employees to support the community, we actively promote a healthy corporate culture.
I can attest that dramatic transformations are possible by putting into action these core principles, and it is well worth the effort. When you truly walk the talk, you’ll build trust with your employees that leads to high engagement, increased productivity, job satisfaction, and, ultimately, a positive effect on the company’s overall performance.