A recent Gallup poll found that almost 20 percent of the US workforce is disengaged. With such a high percentage of disengaged workers, US companies lose nearly a $500 billion per year. This is a huge issue, and one that every employer needs to address. In a recent article in Forbes, Ruth Ross—a former senior HR executive at Wells Fargo who has made it her mission to cure the disengagement malaise sweeping the nation—spoke about the first steps managers can take toward re-engaging disenchanted employees. In this article, Ruth Ross, employee engagement expert, garner tips and advice for companies battling what she calls “the disengagement disease” .
It Starts with a Question
Ruth Ross suggests first inviting all employees to participate in a “stay conversation.” In this conversation, the employer asks the employee a set of questions to encourage open dialogue in order to gain insight into potential issues and possible solutions. Ross suggests the following questions to jumpstart your discussion:
- If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
- Do you feel like the work you do is meaningful? Why or why not?
- What is on your wish list for an enhanced role in this company?
A Two Way Conversation
In order for the “stay conversation” to be beneficial, the employer must pay close attention to what the employees says—and, even more importantly, what they don’t say. By observing the employee’s responses to these questions, as well as body language, an employer can better determine if the employee is content in their current position, and if not, plan next steps to solve any disengagement issues.
Remember, disengagement can affect any employee, so it’s best to schedule a routine “stay conversation” at least once a year for each member of your team to ensure disengagement doesn’t disrupt your company’s productivity.
It’s extremely important to note that this is not a performance review, nor is it a feedback session. It’s intended to be a two-way conversation. It should allow the manager to get into their employee’s head so as to better understand how they’re feeling about their job, while at the same time letting the employee express their concerns freely and without fear.
Based on the questions you ask as the manager, and your ability to listen both to what your employees say—as well as what they don’t say (non-verbal cues)—you would then identify one to three action steps to take with the employee.