That 87 per cent comes from research by Gallup, which took place over 30 years, among over 30 million employees and revealed that while leaders and business owners are great at knowing their purpose, they’re failing to instil this passion into their teams.
A highly engaged workforce is the difference between a business thriving or failing. When your employees are engaged, they are more enthusiastic and productive. Studies have revealed that without a sense of purpose, people won’t enjoy their jobs, and if they don’t love what they do, they won’t be motivated to do it.
This is becoming an increasing problem in Australia, and it’s extremely important that businesses incorporate employee engagement into their vision and goals to thrive and get an edge over their competitors.
What’s scarier is that this is happening from a young age in this country, with children becoming increasingly disengaged in school, as revealed by a recent Grattan Institute study.
This study highlights that a sense of purpose needs to be established or at least understood from a young age, so when these feelings of disengagement start to surface they can be immediately addressed.
For leaders and business owners, a deep belief in something greater than yourself can result in a more motivated staff member, foster team cohesion and even help people live more fulfilled lives. So, how can you inspire your team to be engaged, focused and ultimately more productive?
1. Connect deeply
While this may seem obvious, leaders and business owners can often forget how important it is to forge connections with their employees beyond small talk and office gossip. Seeking a deeper connection can reveal more about your employee’s talent, skills and strengths.
Employees want to enjoy working and they cannot be motivated to do this when they are confined to certain restrictions and expectations. This stifles their creativity and passion and can often cause undue stress and frustration when they fail to meet parameters that don’t align with their work method or values.
Leaders who go the extra mile to discover their staff’s natural talent and abilities will find themselves in a less tense-ridden environment with employees that respect the thought and attention undertaken to foster their personal growth and creativity and allow them to play to their strengths.
Beyond this, employees that have been encouraged to utilise their natural skills will be more productive and more inclined to pursue opportunities and challenge themselves.
2. Expand knowledge
Learning doesn’t begin and end at school, so it’s important to remember to always seek ways to improve. Incorporate programs into your workplace that will provide learning opportunities for your staff. Employees not only reignite their passion, but look at their work from a different perspective with a new set of skills and knowledge.
If introducing training and education programs is not in line with your budget or workspace, encourage employees to pursue workshops, seminars, short courses and other events outside of the workplace. Supporting these endeavors will show how flexible and open you are, making you a more reliable and inspiring leader to your staff.
Employees that are willing to equip themselves with more knowledge and skills will stay motivated, interested and more productive in their work, and help you gain a competitive edge over rival companies.
3. Share your failures
One of the best ways to keep employees engaged is to lead with transparency and openness. While it’s important to share your successes, leaders shouldn’t shy away from sharing their failures too.
By revealing your mistakes and how you overcame them, staff will be more open to new ideas, challenges and possibilities. Not to mention, they will trust and respect you a whole lot more.
Allow employees to discover their own potential by showing them that it is okay to make mistakes. They will be more engaged because they feel a sense of responsibility to constantly improve their work.
Better still, rather than avoiding their work or a problem, they will look forward to tackling tasks, problem solving and creating more when they know that bumps in the road, no matter how small or big, can be overcome and lead to success and prosperity.
4. Encourage collaboration
Encourage your employees to work as a team by fostering cooperation and trust. When employees feel they can turn to their colleagues for help or work together to create and problem solve, they will be more engaged.
Not to mention, employees that feel as though they’re part of a team, they feel secure and important, as they can not only rely on others, but can also be relied upon.
Employees will put more energy and effort into their work when they are exposed to a work environment where they are valued by a group of like-minded individuals that can come together to discover and create.
Investing time in promoting cooperation and teamwork can produce a more efficient environment with reliable, trustworthy and open staff that are willing to work together to improve and succeed.
5. Clarify your vision
To ensure that your business truly thrives, your staff need a clear vision and goals to follow.
When employees understand your goals and why they’re important, they are better able to ascertain how they can achieve those goals. When you clarify what you want to achieve and what your company stands for, your staff have clear and actionable ways to produce efficient, great work that they enjoy doing.
It is also vital to ensure that your staff uphold and align with your company’s values. When you find they’ve become disengaged in their work, this may be a warning sign that they’re not the right fit for the goals you’ve set forward for your business.
6. Ask questions
It is important to ask questions to ensure your employees are productive and performing to the best of their ability. Asking questions will allow you to gain important insights into your employee’s thoughts and feelings, and will help you find ways to improve areas in your business that may be lacking.
Encourage employees to be more open by asking for their feedback. Don’t focus solely on their work but on their thoughts and feelings. It’s important to ask how they’re feeling and their opinion on where and how you can do better for them and the business.
Working with employees to create an environment that nurtures and fulfills them will result in more engagement and respect from your staff.
By making it your goal each day to constantly motivate and empower your employees, their engagement and interest in their work will provide endless possibilities for you and your business. A happy, productive workplace is the key to continued success, gaining an edge over your competitors.
Benjamin Harvey is the founder of Authentic Education.