As the recession continues, many organizations are considering how to increase employee engagement to meet current needs with fewer resources. Research has repeatedly shown that an engaged employee is more productive, motivated, and satisfied. For example, the Hay Group in 2002 in “Engage Employees and Boost Performance” found that engaged employees were 49 percent more productive than those that were not. The dilemma arises from how to create stability and certainty in very unstable and uncertain times.
An economic downturn causes a number of challenges to engagement: greater uncertainty, workplace instability, and personal life difficulties. How often have employees come to you in the last year or two and expressed their fear and frustration with not knowing what will happen next in their work or personal lives? What assurances were you able to give them?
As managers and employees are being asked to do more with fewer resources, there is less time to participate in activities that actually reduce the impact of uncertainty and anxiety while improving engagement. With the limited time we do have, it is critical that we invest in people during a time when people need support the most. What can we do?
• strengthen relationships;
• show empathy and support;
• increase communication;
• exercise flexible;
• instill a positive outlook; and
• acknowledge their commitment.
Start with one or two things a day from this list and help engage the workforce when they need it most.