As a business leader, you might be killing the motivation of your team without even knowing it. Or, you might have a toxic work environment that you’re not even aware of (if you’re not dealing with the day-to-day, how would you know?).
“Employee engagement” has become a bit of a buzz-phrase. But what is an engaged employee? Are we looking for someone who is staying on for the long term, is inspired to work, keen to learn more, given ample opportunities to develop and feels supported by their team and managers? Sounds like the "perfect" scenario to us. Admittedly, this requires give and take on both sides.
Related content: The 10 Pillars of Employee Experience
1. Lack of appreciation
When managers don’t recognise or reward hard work, this makes employees want to do less of it. In the long term, people can become uninspired and apathetic. It can be as simple as saying "thank you” for a job well done, and adding in performance related bonuses certainly helps.
People want to know they’re doing a good job and are valued on a consistent basis. If they’re doing well, simple words of encouragement are easy, inexpensive and motivational methods of encouragement.
Read more: 5 ways to motivate your employees
2. Toxic people
Toxic people can be classified as negative people who may or may not know that their destructive behaviour is in fact bringing the whole house down. For other people, their toxicity is exhausting and can be a key demotivating factor. At the least, make sure your recruitment process weeds these people out and that you have policies and supervision in place to minimise their damage.
That is: meetings for the sake of meetings, A.K.A “a waste of time”. This often happens in large organisations where processes have been put in place to create efficient work but instead create the opposite. Realising that you’re having unproductive meetings and canning these where possible, shows people you respect their time.
4. Poor communication
Not being clear on what needs to be done or when, or changing goal-posts without clearly documenting and sharing these means that employees miss important tasks and become increasingly frustrated. A clear flow of communication benefits everyone.
5. Questionable ethics
This may be happening with no-one even noticing it anymore, as it may have become a part of day-to-day business – which is exactly when it becomes dangerous. Things such as managers not backing their employees up when they're being criticised or assuming the criticism isn't merited is very demotivating for employees.
Using your position of power as a manager in a way that shows you don’t fully respect your employees as individuals is a common occurrence, which many managers don’t realise they’re doing. For example being late for meetings, ignoring suggestions or not replying to emails.
Bad leadership, intentional or not, is toxic to the whole organisation. Even the most driven and highest performing employees need good leaders. A key strategy is to develop your managers and leadership team as a matter of priority.
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