Did you know that the more stressed, burnt out and overwhelmed with your job, there's a good chance the more your team is feeling the same and becoming more and more disengaged?
Is your team, and you like Sandy and her team?
Sandy told me the other day that she felt her team lacked energy and enthusiasm for the work and that they seem to have lost patience for each other too! She wondered how much this had to do with her level of frustration, drained energy and apathy for the work. I suggested it might.
Sandy asked me how she could bounce back and get her team to bounce back. They used to work well together, have fun, and enjoy their work. But, the last couple of years had taken a toll on all of them!
I suggested Sandy consider looking at how to re-engage her employees as employee engagement is critical for strong and effective teams. I explained to her the research around employee engagement. Let me fill you in now.
Why is employee engagement important?
Gallup is the leading researcher on engagement. They define employee engagement as:The big problem is that only 20% of employees fall in the engaged category in Canada.
Gallup says eight in 10 Canadians are either watching the clock, doing the bare minimum to get a paycheck, or worse, actively working against their employer.
Sandy has a team of 20, which means she may have only 4 of them actively engaged. When Sandy realized that, she was gobsmacked. But as we looked more deeply into it, she realized that might be right, and she would need to change that quick!
My guess is you may want to consider increasing employee engagement on your team too!
What can you do to increase employee engagement?
When Sandy asked me what to do, I did the same thing I'd do if you were my client asking this question.
Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey
Applying engagement strategies to staff meetings
After reading that list, you may have already thought of several strategies to increase employee engagement. Some of those may be on a 1-1 basis, and that's an important part of increasing employee engagement. Sandy knew she needed to meet more with her team and talk to them about their growth and development rather than just putting out fires or dealing with current projects.
Once Sandy came up with some 1-1 strategies, I shifted her attention to working on engagement strategies with teams. Sandy realized how she could nurture engagement when the team was together for meetings. She also realized that she could enlist the whole group as part of the process by structuring meetings differently.
To give you a sense of what Sandy created for team meetings to increase employee engagement and what you can do, I've created a 3 C's approach to help you remember how to ensure you focus on employee engagement during staff meetings.
The first thing you need to do at a staff meeting is to connect to one another as human beings. We are not job descriptions that meet contract targets. We are people who serve other people. Thus we need to connect as people.
To make sure that everyone feels connected in the first 5 to 10 minutes of the meeting, make sure that everyone has an opportunity to share their voice in the conversation.
That can be starting with a one-word check-in, a team-building activity, a gratitude sharing exercise or an acknowledgement of each other. Whatever it is, make sure that everyone has the opportunity to put their voice into the circle.
This is how Sandy ensured everyone connected:
Sandy knew some people would feel this was a waste of time and even roll their eyes at the exercises. She overcame her hesitation by getting ahold of her thoughts before the meeting.
To create a group of engaged employees means they feel that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. Therefore, the bulk of the staff meeting must meet that requirement.
Remember these two questions for the Gallup research
Meetings should not be strictly information sharing. During the meeting, you are looking to gather people's ideas, concerns, and challenges. But more than that, you were also asking them to contribute to agenda items, topics and projects.
If your employees ask themselves or their teammates why they are there or the point of the meeting, you've not contributed, and you've not engaged them.
To ensure you are getting employees' contributions, make note as you go through the meeting: Has everyone had a chance to contribute to this meeting once again in a meaningful way?
This is how Sandy ensured everyone contributed.
At first, after the meeting was over, Sandy did a quick review and put a tick mark beside everyone's name that had contributed something to the meeting.
Next, sandy sought out those who hadn't to see if they wanted to add something outside the meeting conversation.
Then, during future meetings, Sandy made it clear that the goal was for everyone to contribute. That didn't mean she'd put people on the spot but created ways of allowing for everyone's voice, like round tables, breakout rooms and voting in polls on virtual meetings.
Commitment is twofold. It's about commitment to tasks and commitment to each other.
First, make sure you know what each person is committing to complete as a result of the conversations during the meeting.
Identify, in writing:
This is how Sandy ensured everyone committed to tasks:
Sandy created a shared document that the team used at each meeting. The team did not take the old tasks and responsibilities off the document. Instead, they were updated, marked as complete or identified as needing further discussion. The document served as a commitment device, holding everyone, including Sandy, accountable for what they said they'd do.
The second part of commitment is to make sure you end the meeting with a commitment to each other. Once again, we are people, humans in relationships. That means we have to continue to strengthen those relationships.
As you end the meeting, provide space for each person to engage.
If time permits, this can be done as a roundtable, allowing everyone to contribute one word to the question,
This is how Sandy ensured everyone committed to each other:
When Sandy found time-crunched at the end of a meeting, she simply asked for a physical gesture of commitment.
A final reminder about created engaged teams
I'm guessing you may be thinking that you don't have time at staff meetings for all of the above suggestions. If so, I'd ask you to reevaluate the purpose of your staff meeting.
A meeting, by definition, is an engaged conversation.
If you are only sharing information, that's not a meeting. It's an information-sharing session. So if that is what you are doing, then define it as such.
If you are having a meeting, ensure to create connection, opportunities for contribution and a level of commitment to each other. Because when you connect, contribute and commit with a team, you will have an engaged team.
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