Employee Re-Engagement: How to Get More From Your People

It’s natural for business leaders to want their employees to give their best – and it’s frustrating when it seems like your team is dedicated only to the bare minimum. But in a culture where more and more employees are rethinking their work-life balances, leaders need to adjust their plans to keep teams engaged and satisfied.

This article shares five practical strategies for motivating your employees to go the extra mile even when the road gets tough.

What is Discretionary Effort, and why does it matter?

First, we’ll define a central concept for employee re-engagement: discretionary effort.

Discretionary effort is the additional effort employees give toward their jobs, not because they have to, but because they want to. It’s the magic that occurs when team members exceed expectations and think outside KPIs to deliver something extra. And if every person on your team gives discretionary effort, it can have a massive positive impact on your productivity and bottom line.

It’s important to understand that discretionary effort is just that – discretionary. If an employee is fulfilling all expectations for their role, it’s not fair or reasonable to reprimand them for not doing work that’s outside their job description. You’ll only receive discretionary effort when your employees want to give it – and as a leader, it’s your responsibility to create an environment that facilitates that.

Five Strategies to Re-Engage Employees and Increase Discretionary Effort

So, how can you re-engage your team and encourage them to deliver something extra? The five methods below will give you a solid foundation for increasing your team’s discretionary effort.

Ask for feedback.

To engage your employees, you need to know what’s working in your business – and what isn’t. Utilize surveys and other methods of collecting anonymous employee feedback. You could ask questions like:

  • What do you love about your job? What parts of your job do you wish would disappear?
  • What are the best things about working for this company? What are the things you would most want to change?
  • What aspects or processes of this company make it more difficult for you to do your job?
  • What motivates you most to do your best work?

Once you’ve gathered this data, meet with your leadership team to discuss your employees’ responses, and develop a plan for implementing their feedback. It’s essential to make these changes as quickly as possible – at the very least, acknowledge to your team that you’ve heard their concerns and are working to act on them immediately.

Communicate your vision.

Today’s workforce is increasingly purpose-driven – they want to know why they’re doing what they’re doing. As a leader, you’re acutely aware of your organization’s purpose, but it’s easy for employees to lose that forest for the trees of individual contributor responsibilities.

This is why it’s crucial for senior leadership to continually communicate your organization’s mission, vision, and strategy to every member of your team. You should ensure that each employee understands how their contributions help fulfill the company’s mission and move toward its vision. This can inspire your employees and remind them that their work is meaningful.

Prioritize your employees’ needs.

Skewed work-life balance is a common reason for employee disengagement. To attract, retain, and continuously encourage talent, you’ll want to recommit to supporting your team outside the workplace as well as within it.

Part of this is by auditing the tangible benefits your company offers employees and upgrading where you can. If you provide healthcare coverage, can you extend it to include mental health and wellness treatment? If you offer PTO, can you dedicate additional PTO to specific employee concerns like child care, elder care, or bereavement? Remember to regularly remind your employees of the benefits available to them, as well as how to access them.

Another important step is to show an active interest in your employees’ lives and passions. If you can encourage employees to share the reasons they go to work each day, you can better tailor their role within the company so they’re more motivated and fulfilled.

Rethink salary ranges.

While there are plenty of cultural changes you can make within your organization to engage employees, there comes a time for more cut-and-dry measures. The truth is that when it comes to discretionary effort, you get what you pay for – and it’s not fair to expect maximum effort out of a minimum salary.

Meet regularly with your leadership team to research current market value for the roles within your team and make any adjustments to meet or exceed those ranges. Additional monetary incentives such as performance-based raises and bonuses also go a long way toward motivating your team.

Stay fully staffed.

It’s hard for your employees to give discretionary effort if they’re juggling multiple people’s workloads. That’s why one of the best methods for getting the most out of your current team is to keep your business optimally staffed. Strategic staffing solutions can reduce burnout, boost morale, and give your team members the time and space they need to go above and beyond for you.

To learn more about how our staffing services can re-engage your employees, contact us today.

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