5 Ways To Motivate Your Disengaged Employees

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A good employee can still be disengaged — here are some ways to try and improve their engagement.

As a human resource manager, one of your main jobs is to recruit and retain top talent. Fortunately, the majority of your hires want to play an integral role in your organization. Employee engagement levels are at 82 percent, according to the ADP Research Institute (ADP RI) Evolution of Work 2.0: The Me vs. We Mindset, but that means 18 percent of your team doesn't strive to make a difference. They simply want to do their work and cash the paycheck — end of story.

Is it possible to motivate this group? Employees can struggle to understand the importance of their role when they and the employer view a job as a simple transaction of money for labor, according to the study. Luckily, there are several things you can do to hold onto good but disengaged employees before they leave your organization for another opportunity.

1. Provide Clear Expectations

Start by making sure you offer employees clear job direction about what their jobs entail. Just 40 percent of employees explicitly understand what their employer wants from them, according to Gallup's 2017 State of the American Workplace employee engagement report.

Spend time discussing roles, defining goals and adjusting expectations. Provide frequent feedback to both individuals and the team to help achieve their goals. Employees who believe that their job expectations align with the work they do are 2.5 times more likely than other employees to be engaged, according to Gallup.

2. Tap Into Employee Strengths

Employees want to do their best work but, according to Gallup, just 40 percent feel they are in a position to make that happen. It's important for managers to communicate and work closely with employees to recognize their strengths. If someone would be better suited in another role, offer opportunities for lateral moves.

When organizations focus on employees' strengths, they increase retention and employee engagement.

3. Recognize a Job Well Done

With deadlines to meet and numbers to hit, managers often don't call out employees for their good work, providing feedback only when there is a problem. One of the easiest ways to create a positive culture is by telling employees how their contributions help the organization achieve its goals, according to Harvard Business Review. Research found that 40 percent of employees say they'd put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often.

4. Monitor the Employee-Manager Relationship

Employee engagement can depend on work relationships. The majority of employees feel most connected to their immediate peers, while fewer feel the same way about leadership, according to ADP RI report. In fact, less than half of employees surveyed feel connected to their direct managers.

The truth is that employees don't quit jobs; they quit bosses. Encourage your leaders to get to know their employees. If an employee feels like their boss cares about them as a person, they are more likely to experiment with new ideas, share information and support colleagues.

5. Create a Culture of Awareness

To be engaged, you need to feel like you're being heard, but just 30 percent of American employees believe their opinion matters, according to Gallup. Instead of having a top-down system of implementing changes, create a culture that promotes open dialogue. Hold brainstorming sessions or provide employees with other opportunity to share ideas. And if you don't use their recommendations, make sure they are given a clear reason why.

Job satisfaction for employees is directly correlated with how useful and connected they feel — and whether they have the ability to provide feedback that will make a difference. Teams that operate under a spirit of collaboration outperform managers that make decisions unilaterally, according to Gallup.

Taking the time to re-engage disengaged employees not only positively impacts your bottom line — it reduces turnover — which makes your job of recruiting all that much easier.

Want to learn more? Download the ADP report: Take Your Talent Strategy Further: Connecting People and Work

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