Well, do you? Answer honestly. Do you feel engaged? Excited to go to work? Energized while you’re there? Energized when you come home? If you answered no to those questions, you’re not alone. Perhaps instead, you feel like Lily, pictured above. She’s the small chocolate mini-mule, who is flattening her ears angrily at George. His simple existence vexes her to no end. She likely feels he is standing too close, and shouldn’t be looking over the gate while she is looking over the gate. Do you feel like that about some of your colleagues? Or perhaps your boss?
In a great article published in the NY Times back in 2014, Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath wrote about Why You Hate Work. There is a ton of great information and study results explaining what they found. Their bottom line is that companies and individual managers need to stop the disconnect between WANTING their employees to be happier, more engaged, and focused, and start DOING things to make that reality come to life.
One of our clients engaged in management coaching with us is doing this very thing. Four of their managers are beginning to set time aside out of everyone’s busy schedules to meet with their direct reports on a regular basis. The manager of the largest team has eight direct reports, and the smallest has three. The model they are following consists of a full team meeting one week, and individual one-on-one meetings the following week. So each thing occurs every other week.
The team meetings are restricted to 90 minutes, and must have a clear agenda, in writing, sent to everyone prior to the meeting. Any reports that need to be shared are submitted by email ahead of time to the group, so that the meetings stay action-oriented with discussion, brain-storming, and decision-making. All that extra time they used to spend in multiple 3-4 hour meetings is gone, as is the level of frustration. That time is used now to be more productive in their individual tasks, including reading the reports that come via email prior to the meeting.
The individual one-on-one meetings are 30-60 minutes, depending on the mutual agreement of the two involved, and what needs to be discussed. The first half is used for check-in and clarification of priorities for the coming two weeks, and the second half is used for professional development focus. The employee has the opportunity to talk about challenges they’ve faced or have coming up, and get their manager’s input, guidance, and feedback on how to grow and develop through the experience. These meetings have a critical ancillary effect, which is the strengthening of the relationship between these two people. This leads to everyone feeling a greater sense of engagement.
How does your company make employees feel engaged? We love new ideas, so please share with us! And if you would like to use the ones here in your own team, we encourage you to do so. Of course, if you’d like any help along the way, we’re just a phone call or email away.