Supervisors Are The Key To Employee Re-Engagement

Chillin' at work
Photo by slworking2 via Flickr

According to a recent white paper by Management Concepts, in the typical workforce most employees are disengaged:
  • 25% are "engaged"
  • 55% "sit on the fence" - some days engaged, the other days checked-out
  • 20% are "working against the grain," either "actively sabotaging" or "waiting to retire"
Disengagement is invisible but the costs are real:
  • Recruitment and knowledge transfer costs due to turnover
  • Decreased customer service
  • Increased absenteeism and decreased productivity
  • Higher health insurance costs due to emotional stress
  • Reduced interest in problem-solving and less innovation
  • Less collaboration
  • Lower morale
According to the white paper, citing the Gallup Management Journal, the collective cost of disengagement worldwide is higher than $350 million.

The issue of disengagement is global and deeply rooted, yet the remedy is simple. According to the paper, supervisors  "have the greatest impact on individuals’ engagement."

There are four concrete actions they can take, according to the research:
  • Be present: Take the time to listen to employees and communicate "thoughtfully."
  • Build trust intentionally: Make employees comfortable with giving negative feedback or asking for help
  • Over-communicate: This means listening more, not talking more
  • Act on items discussed: Use the feedback employees provide to get them more engaged
 For a copy of the white paper, click here.