From an expanding small business to a profitable Fortune 500 company, all the owners and execs have the same tormenting issue, “Why don’t my employees care?”
That cuts to the root of all management issues, doesn’t it? When employees are invested in their company and care (almost) as much as the boss—businesses thrive. However, according to the latest State of the American Workplace Report, 70 percent of U.S. workers are disengaged and emotionally disconnected at work—compared to 40 percent globally. So, while Americans reportedly work harder than our neighbors across the pond, we’re significantly less attached to our positions and invested in our company’s goals.
Many companies with the highest levels of employee engagement ditch organizational charts and allow leaders to emerge based on project supervision and success. A lack of hierarchy and formal “boss” titles allows for a sense of independence and ownership for all employees—leaving staff to choose to perform at a high level not because they are directed to, but because they feel an ownership obligation to help their company deliver on its mission.
Reminders of the Mission
Speaking of delivering on a company’s mission, how is that engrained in employees without pumping rhetoric into the loud speakers like some sort of tyrant? Subtle reminders of your businesses overall goal helps reinforce core values such as a staff-wide email or ringing a bell when a new deal is closed. If you’re more of a service-based company passing along testimonials and customer feedback to the entire staff helps strengthen company values.
Failing is Fine
Most business owners know that in order to succeed you must fail, and fail often. There’s no reason that idea should stop with owners. Allowing employees to act as owners in the pursuit of innovation can pay off big in the end. A quote comes to mind from Thomas Edison, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” How to you foster an atmosphere of experimentation? Start by encouraging new ideas for clients and projects—rather than dictating tasks without wiggle-room. Some businesses find that setting aside “brainstorming” time for clients on a weekly or monthly basis helps break the routine of deliverables and allows for time to produce creative ideas.
If these recommendations seem like we’re directing your business to some zero-consequence, unrealistic utopia—we’re not. Culpability is still vital to employee engagement, and ultimately, a company’s success. About a year ago, we wrote about Jack Welch’s best tips for managing employees, which discussed what he feels are the keys to employee engagement, such as hiring generous leaders, being honest with worker on where they stand, and giving a reason for employees to want to choose your company.