Put down the gift cards and stop planning the next “Employee of the Month” party. Boosting employee engagement can’t be won by introducing dress-down Fridays or giving out Starbucks cards.
In a recent Gallup poll, 63% of American workers are not engaged in their work. Gallup estimates that the cost of these disengaged workers lies between $450-$550 billion each year in lost productivity. To save money and increase productivity, we’ve got to start doing something different.
The true drivers of engagement are growth, recognition, trust, and communication. And, lucky for you, the first step to improving engagement starts with one sentence.
Here are the five most important things you can say to motivate and inspire your workforce:
“What other skills would you like to learn?”
Employees are more engaged when they are encouraged to learn new skills. A study by APA found that 70% of employees feel valued at work when they have opportunities for growth and development. Provide training or allow employees to work cross-departmentally. Leveraging the potential in your employees will lead to greater job satisfaction and morale.
“What did you do this weekend?”
Research shows that getting to know employees on a personal level can boost engagement by 11%. We’re not saying you need to pry, but take the time to make a deeper connection with your team. This will give you insight into how they are wired and what they value at work. And, building personal connections at work is directly related to high engagement levels.
“What would you do?”
When employees don’t feel involved, they withdraw and are less inclined to push themselves. Motivate your employees by actively soliciting their opinions and asking for frequent feedback. Empower them to bring new ideas to the table – you will be surprised by what they can achieve when given the freedom and trust.
“This is my vision”
Everyone wants to feel included. When your employees understand the big picture, they will feel more compelled to succeed. Don’t be afraid to speak candidly about challenges, goals, visions, and strategy – you will gain their trust and your team will be more invested in the outcome.
The best way to recognize and praise your employees does not include gifts or prizes. All they want to hear are two simple words: thank you. And, once they hear those words, a powerful flywheel effect of engagement will begin. Employees who feel appreciated are more productive and loyal, and will work harder to achieve more positive feedback.
Are we missing anything? Share your catchphrase to boost engagement in the comments below.