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How To Engage Employees December 1, 2008

Posted by Kevin Burns in attitude, boss, business, customer, Employee Engagement, engagement, kevin burns, keynote speaker, leadership, management, performance, personal development, service, training.
I have been saying it and writing about it for a couple of years now. And this week, proof positive that it works. What is it that I am speaking of? I’m speaking of getting employees more engaged in their work.
A new University of Alberta study, The Promise of Spirit at Work: Increasing Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment and Reducing Turnover and Absenteeism in Long-Term Care was published last month. The findings are no real surprise.
Everyone takes a job – or should I say, makes a career choice, for a reason. It is that very reason that most people can re-engage themselves with their work. All it takes is a little reminder once in a while that there was a reason each person chose initially to take a certain job. Rarely do you find yourself taking a job of last-resort. There are usually choices. It is in those choices that people find themselves with a mission or purpose for their lives: to feel that their contribution means something. It is in that feeling that engagement on the job takes place.
The study finds that for people who find a deeper purpose in their work, being of service, appreciation of themselves and others as well as a sense of community and self-care actually reduced absenteeism by 60% and reduced staff turnover by 75%.
In addition, those who reconnected with their mission saw a 23% increase in teamwork, a ten percent boost in job satisfaction and a seventeen percent jump in morale.
Employers benefited too: $12,000 of absenteeism-related costs saved in the five months following the study than over the same period last year.
And how difficult is it to see profound changes in employees from employers? It is simple really. Simply help your people remind themselves that the work they do has meaning. The employer must ensure that each employee’s contribution is important.
Attitude Adjustment: Reminding employees that their work is valued is not done by memo, by email or by setting a policy. The work is done in a face-to-face discussion with an employee (formal or not as it doesn’t really matter). The manager has to be willing to help his or her people see that the employee’s contribution is being noticed and matters in the big scheme of things. If a manager finds it difficult to have a heartfelt conversation with a staff member, I will guarantee that engagement under that manager is low. Employees, however, can’t sit around waiting to be stroked before they apply themselves. If the employee can’t find any meaning in their work, then they should leave voluntarily or should be set adrift to find something that matters to them. Enough of the mindlessness at work. If you won’t wrap your head around what you’re doing, then find something else to do and let someone who can apply themselves do the job instead. 


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