Worldwide 13% of the workforce is engaged. In the US it’s 33%. That’s a small minority of people actively contributing to the success of their employers, a small group who participate in their firm’s success.
What about the vast majority?
We’re talking about those people who drag themselves to work everyday, those who engage in negative behaviours at work. Where do they learn these from? Why have they given up on feeling fulfilled at work?
Recently I heard about a board member of a prominent City firm coming back to work after a drunken lunch and publicly belittling members of his team and the work they do. Yes, that’s an extreme example, but every move we make as leaders is noticed and filed by our successors.
What are we teaching our teams when we don’t recognise their achievements, encourage their development, show interest in them as individuals, when we don’t listen to their point of view, when we don’t hold ourselves accountable to the same standards we expect from them?
We can be leaders at any level, we don’t need to be the CEO. It’s all about mindset and how we choose to interact with the people around us. By focusing on the strengths of the people who work for us, by motivating them to take action autonomously and by engaging with them we can become “great” managers.
Many of my clients are based in Bermuda where the job market and opportunities are just as sophisticated as in any large city like London or New York. The main difference is that the number of opportunities is not as large. If you’re unhappy with your job in London you can move companies a heck of a lot easier than in Bermuda.
What does this mean for employers on the island? I think it means they must work even harder to create environments that engage their people. And whilst companies like Google get headlines for allowing staff to bring their dogs to work, Netflix for unlimited vacation days, the real reason their staff are engaged is because they are chosen for their strengths and allowed to work to them, with a sense of trust and freedom that you won’t find in many corporate hallways.
Wherever your company is located, the same principles apply. Instead of tightly grasping on to every piece of work your team produce, give them some space to learn and grow. Focus not on what time they arrive and how late they stay, but on them and the results they produce.