Tough Love: 5 Ways You’re Failing Your Employees / Managing / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Find it shocking that 70% of employees in the US are not fully engaged at work? Here's what your employees need to stay focused.

Are you shocked to find that 70 percent of employees in the US are not fully engaged at work?

That’s right nearly 75 percent of all workers in the states aren’t being engaged by their current position.

So what is it that makes this elite 30 percent satisfied and engaged in their job.

Is it the tasks and duties themselves or is there something more to it?

The key here is making your employees care. It doesn’t matter what the basic responsibilities are, how daunting the tasks, or how low the pay-- It’s your job as a small business owner to make the employees feel like they’re serving a greater purpose and keep them happily motivated.

Related Article: Help Me Help You: How to Best Deliver Constructive Criticism

Companies like Pepperi create an environment in which employees feel like they're serving a greater purpose by educating sales reps with valuable tools. Whether it’s by creating a team atmosphere, showing that you’re working for the greater good, or simply making work more fun, employers have a big say in engaging their employees.

The top 5 reasons employees really care about their jobs can help you to provide these things to your staff and see a more engaged and captive workflow.

1. Freedom

The key to getting your employees to care about their job and engage them is providing them with their own sense of freedom. The CEO of Guesty, a management toolbox for Airbnb hosts adds,  "I try to hire extremely smart people and when given freedom to experiment they come up with brilliant ideas that I wouldn't have thought of myself".

What I love most about my job is the feeling that I’m in control, even though there’s technically people above me it feels like a very level playing field. While authority is very important people find true responsibility when encouraged and empowered to do what’s right on their own, not because someone in a place of power says so.

With freedom and empowerment comes trust. In order to give your employees freedom, you must have a sufficient feeling of mutual trust. This trustworthiness is what builds a healthy team culture and engaged employees who care about their work and their team. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, it’s essential that each individual makes the effort to form this trusting relationship. If you don’t feel you’re receiving adequate freedom and autonomy as an employee have a discussion about it with your manager and talk about options to overcome this.

2. Culture

An office’s culture is dependent on many different aspects. The people can either add to this appealing culture or in a negative situation be very detrimental. Employees rate culture and work environment as very important factors for loving their job. When everyone cares about each other and has that sense of mutual trust the culture comes quite naturally.

Culture typically comes from the top down, so it’s the responsibility of the management to set the status quo when it comes to atmosphere. Yes, it has been shown that workplaces with free snacks, ping pong tables, etc. have more fully engaged employees.

Diane Helbig, a contributing editor on COSE Mindspring (a resource website for small business owners), asserts the importance of creating a cultural impression- especially among new hires. “Understanding culture is one place where having a team approach can be impactful. Have a team of employees — not just managers —  meet with new hires to welcome them. Hearing how things work from peers can be just as valuable as hearing it from HR.”

By involving and educating your new recruits, they’ll be able to embrace how all their fellow employees work and will be more open take part and ask questions.

Related Article: How To Impress Your Manager During Your One-On-One Meeting

3. Team

As an owner of a small business, always think of your co-workers as your teammates. If you were ever played any type of team sport or even watch them as a spectator you know there’s a unique bond between teammates. When we know other people are dependent on us, as social beings we tend to perform better because we don’t want to let down our teammates.

The key to promoting the team spirit and turn your team members from dog eat dog to fighting for the common good is showing each person how their individual efforts impacts other people and the company as a whole. When we know we’re counting on other people, and other people are relying on us we form this bond as teammates that encourage one another to work harder and engage more at work.

Another way to motivate your team is to create a reward and incentive system, not just when the  sales goals have been achieved. Small business managers that offer incentives to employees for problem-solving not only build a stronger, smarter team but motivate employees to think outside the box.

4. Variety

You can see how one wouldn’t very engaged at work if the culture and the work itself is very monotonous. Even if the content itself isn’t thrilling and exciting all of the time there are other things you can do to spice up the office. It’s part of human nature to favor variety and seek out new learning opportunities, but this doesn’t necessarily have to detract from your daily responsibilities. When employees are provided with sufficient resources and tools for further training and development in other aspects of the company. Internal marketing is really important especially in B2B if you still feel like you need more spice in your day to day routine take up online courses in a subject you’re really interested in and supplements what you’re working on.

5. Love (And the Occasional Tough Love)

Every employee has their great days and their less great days. Employees that care about their jobs aren’t happy with their professional lives because they do nothing but succeed. While they’re very successful they also know how to deal with the tough days, get past them and learn from their mistakes. While it hurts in the moment to receive constructive criticism how you deal with tough love and how it’s dished out can make a big difference in employee engagement and their satisfaction at work. Of course showing praise when it’s relevant is important as well. When teammates have big milestones or accomplishments celebrate, it will help form this bond and give people a nice extra excuse to care about what they’re doing.

Related Article: What Are You Doing to Nurture Your Most Valuable Asset?

In the end, it’s all really a self-fulfilling prophecy if you have employees who care about their job and are engaged in the office all of these things will happen on their own. In any business, the culture has a large impact on engagement, provide your employees with these 5 things and you’re likely to see a more engaged staff and successful work results.

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