Do you find your employees struggle to find motivation at the beginning of the working week? Is it perhaps even common for your employees to ‘chuck a sickie’ to avoid coming into work? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you like many other employers may be struggling to engage your employees.
In 2014, a Direct Health Solutions survey estimated that absenteeism cost the Australian economy $32.5 billion in lost wages and lost productivity. The same survey found that 45% of short-term absences were the result of “chucking a sickie”.
Harvest HR recently partnered with AltusQ for the Geelong leg of the series of nationwide Thank God It’s Monday events. Here is what our Career Specialist Meredith Telfer took away from the event:
Understand what motivates your employees to come into work every morning.
Are they emotionally or rationally committed? Rational commitment is motivation purely based on the exchange of time, expertise and energy for financial compensation. In contrast, emotional commitment is where employees are driven to work because of the passion and purpose they derive, not only from their work, but the organisation for which they work.
Employee’s lacking emotional commitment to their work should not be an immediate cause for concern.
For example someone who is particularly community minded, who comes to work with the incentive of providing for their family but engages in community activities outside of work has their emotional drivers met elsewhere. Issues arise when employee’s emotional drivers are not met inside or outside of the workplace. Because they have no connection to the work they do, motivation lags and productivity drops. When this occurs it is import to proactively engage employers and ensure employees feel valued.
Emotional commitment has shown to be four times more powerful in maintaining productivity than rational commitment, and it doesn’t take much to positively engage employees. It could be something as simple as asking ‘How are you going?’ Knowing that management is approachable and cares, not only about the outcomes of projects, but the people behind them can make the world of difference.
You will always have employees that can be classified as ‘True Believers’. Those categorised as a true believer are often described as strongly committed to their work, managers and the organization as a whole. This segment is highly valuable to your business, in comparison to ‘disaffected’ and ‘agnostic’ segments, as they have higher retention levels and company loyalty. Those considered as disaffected are recognized as being underperformers, while those classified as agnostic are impartial, they do their work but do not put in extra effort to do so.
Employing the right type of people is incredibly important for the success of a team and for an organization. There are screening tools, i.e. psychometric testing which will allow employers to select candidates most likely to fit with the personalities of your team members, however these can only achieve certain levels of results. Good management cannot only create true believers, put prevent true believers from becoming agnostic or disaffected.
How then can an organization create true believers?
The previously mentioned Direct Health Solutions survey found that Monday’s were by far the most popular day to take off, with employers twice as likely to be absent on Monday’s compared to any other week day. Statistics don’t lie, clearly Australian’s aren’t engaged at work. How then can an organisation get the most out of their employees? With a creative mindset.
A creative mindset is a top down approach, starting with management and leadership that focus on progression and achievement of outcomes rather than reacting when problems arise. Benefits of creativity in the workplace include:
- Increased cohesion and communication between employees on projects,
- Increased workplace engagement and interaction,
- Greater retention and attraction of quality employees,
- Creativity in problem solving and improved productivity, and
- Increased staff morale, enjoyment and happiness.
Importantly, true believers have the ability to positively influence other employees and their attitude towards work. By making the effort to boost employee self worth, businesses are building the foundations for loyalty and productivity.
Is your organisational culture used to actively engage employees, or is it a list of ideal aspirations?
As a manager you may have a shiny perfect idea of how your culture operates within your business model. How accurate is it to reality? Highly engaged organisations focus on the following things:
- Culture: how do we identify ourselves? Are we achieving this identity?
- KPI’s: reward and recognition,
- Performance management,
- Purpose, and
Performance management is a key factor in ensuring staff productivity is kept on track. It is important that clear expectations for performance are laid out for employees and followed through and checked to ensure these are met. When these expectations aren’t met then investigations into why they aren’t being met should be carried out. For the employee it could be a confidence issue, the need for training, or boredom. Having a manager sit down and discuss the issue with performance and the employee’s worth as part of the culture, organisation and team can reaffirm the importance of their work. Where progress cannot be made, it need’s to be considered whether the cost of their underperformance can be compromised for an overwhelmingly positive trait. E.g. If a salesperson had excellent customer repour but regularly failed to meet KPI’s.
The need for reward and recognition
Most people will put the extra effort in if it will be rewarded. Reward does not necessarily refer to monetary recompense, it may simply be acknowledging a job done well or expressing appreciation. Since not everyone is motivated by money, employers need to consider a number of ways to reward and recognise employee efforts.
An example is a ‘Thankyou’ awards night where overachieving employees are nominated for awards based on a number of factors including manager feedback, team feedback and customer feedback. These types of recognition elevate an employee’s self worth, while improving employee retention and loyalty to an organisation.
Blog written by Meredith Telfer, Careers Specialist and Employee Engagement Expert at Harvest Human Resources