Jabra Blog: Five Ways to Light the Fire within Our Workers
More than two-thirds of today’s workers are in a funk. They’re indifferent, bored and disengaged from their jobs – which is having a huge negative effect on productivity, innovation and customer service. Here are some fundamental ideas for getting your workers back onto the bandwagon.
When was the last time you encountered an employee with an unlimited passion for their job? You know, the type of worker who goes out of their way to make every interaction special—and raises the level of performance of everyone around them?
I know one. His name is Martin, and he works, of all places, at a restaurant.
Martin makes it a point to greet every customer by name and with a warm smile. He unfailingly welcomes me with a hearty “Hello Holger. Great to see you again!”
He’s a whirlwind of activity: cheerfully exhorting the staff, quickly delivering food, eagerly cleaning tables – probably even mixing the drinks for all I know. Martin’s enthusiasm is infectious, and his coworkers strive to match his energy.
What’s interesting is that he isn’t the owner; he’s merely an employee. He obviously loves his job, and his passion is the reason that I and hundreds of other loyal customers come back.
Let’s face it. We need more Martins in our organizations. Especially when you consider that a staggering 70 percent of today’s workers are disengaged, apathetic and bored with their jobs. That apathy costs organizations more than $2 trillion globally.
In today’s lightning-fast business climate, keeping up with the competition means having knowledge workers who are motivated, engaged and brimming with energy. After all, it is employees, not management, who deliver the new innovations, fresh ideas and positive energy that drive our organizations forward.
Five Ways to Light the Fire Inside
So what can we do to get our workers re-engaged with their jobs? Here are five ideas.
1: Understand what motivates your workers.
Studies show that while money is important to knowledge workers, it isn’t as important as the opportunity to plan and own their job tasks and excel at achieving them. So make sure that your pay is on par with the industry and that you provide ample opportunities for employees to take ownership of how they perform their work.
2: Think like a startup.
Ever wonder how startups get their employees to make huge personal sacrifices, work with passion and contribute beyond their comfort zone? Successful startups have a well-defined mission they use as a rallying cry.
Trouble is, only about 40% of employees today know what their company stands for and what differentiates it from the competition. As leaders, we need to transform our employees into brand ambassadors by continually reinforcing our mission and demonstrating how they fit into it.
3: Set your employees loose.
No one likes being told what to do and how to do it. In fact, research shows that workers who feel empowered and self-directed are more satisfied in their jobs than ones who aren’t. So let’s clearly define the end-goal and then start granting employees the autonomy they need to reach them.
4: Emphasize employee strengths.
Which would you rather spend your workday doing—something you enjoy and do well, or something you don’t enjoy and aren’t particularly good at? (Trust me. It isn’t a trick question!)
When we ask employees to perform tasks they don’t enjoy or aren’t equipped to accomplish, it’s no wonder they become disengaged. Yet in my experience, we spend too much time focusing on shoring up employees’ weaknesses and not enough on building their strengths. For a truly engaged workforce, we need to identify employees’ strengths—that unique blend of knowledge, talents and skills—and build upon those strengths through training, encouragement and positive feedback.
5: Choose leaders carefully.
It’s no secret: Employee engagement begins with inspiring leadership. We need to select leaders based on their ability to motivate, engage and rally the troops. We should hire leaders who have the interpersonal skills to forge strong, trusting relationships with their workers. Ones who eagerly solicit ideas and feedback for an open and positive work environment where employees feel supported, engaged and encouraged to do bigger and better Things.
Sure, not all employees will possess the innate passion of my friend Martin. But it’s our job as managers to get our workers excited, engaged and motivated—and make the workplace one that inspires.
To learn more about new ways of working, read Holger Reisinger’s blog by Clicking Here