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There are a lot of industries out there dedicated to making you worried about the world and our future. And sure, there are some things that are certainly worth worrying about. But it’s also important to stop and take note of the good. And the oft-cited and always relevant Gallup employee engagement survey has some good news for employers and employees alike: engagement is up—in fact, it’s the highest it’s ever been in the history of the survey.
While the numbers certainly aren’t where they’d be in a picture-perfect world, a 34% percent engagement rate (and all-time-low 13% actively disengaged rate) are important to note, because they’re trending upward. People are happier and more engaged at work.
But what about the remaining 66%. What if we didn’t just stop at the good news, but asked ourselves how we can make it even better?
Here at Hoopla, as employee engagement enthusiasts, we’ve certainly gained a few important insights into what makes employees happy. The truth: it’s not about crazy high salaries or flashy benefits. It starts with great leadership—and the key behaviors that great leaders adopt:
You don’t need to spend more than a few minutes on the sales floor to realize that any given office is loaded with a huge variety of people and personalities. Think about the best personality assessments out there, from Myers Briggs to the Enneagram, there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all mindset out there.
Everybody’s different—and you know that that’s a part of what makes your team great. So why on earth would you try to approach all of your employees as if they’d all thrive under the same work style? Writing for Fast Company, Tammy Perkins of Glassdoor puts it best when she says that “employees are looking for meaningful engagement around their work that helps to motivate, inspire, and inform their day-to-day contributions and connection to the organization’s bigger mission and goals.” In other words, your team wants to play a part in your organization’s success—and they’re trying to find their way in.
Perkins goes on to explain that employees—like all of us—put high value on meaningful work. And that means that when they find it, they’re more deeply stimulated on an intellectual level. And that in turn raises the ceiling of their capabilities.
So stop trying to fit your square-peg employees into round-work holes. Take the time to listen to what they want—what that deeper meaning they are after is. And there you’ll find an engaged, happy, and thriving employee.
Once you’ve got a picture of what it is that makes your employees tick, then you need to help them focus in on patterns and behaviors that will help them continue to thrive—even on the days where they don’t feel quite so motivated.
The easiest ways to do this is goal-setting. Start with weekly goals: short-term tasks, benchmarks, and accomplishments that you can check in on and provide feedback for in real time. You may even consider putting those goals up on a live, inter-office platform to inspire a sense of team-ownership over those goals.
It may seem like an oversimplification, but that’s only because it really is this simple: if you’re in touch with your employees’ wants and needs, and you’re giving them an outlet to accomplish those tasks—and get recognized for them—you’re giving your team the keys to profound satisfaction in their work. And at the end of the day, that’s a reward you’ll both reap mightily from.
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