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The polls are out! In the recent “2013 State of the American Workplace” report released by Gallup, the results show that 70% of American workers are “Not engaged” or “Actively Disengaged” – that’s quite a large percentage of disengaged employees! And not surprisingly, your boss might be the one to blame if you are feeling that way. 

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Okay, let’s be honest – everybody has had to deal with a bad manager at least once in their work life. These managers are the ones that make you feel like you’d rather jump off a cliff, or be strapped down to a train track, or better still be mauled by a bear… you get my drift. These morbid feelings affect your day-to-day work life and in turn affects the company as well; but wait! you’re disengaged and don’t really care ;)

Things weren’t always this way – as Dr. Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and well-being says, “Most people come to work well intentioned and only turn sour when their basic needs aren’t being met.

To turn disengaged employees into truly engaged employees, we first need to understand that engaged employees have well-defined roles in the organization, make strong contributions, are actively connected to their larger team and organization, and are continuously progressing. As a manager, here are five things you can do to engage your employees:

  1. Provide clarity: Nothing is more annoying for an employee than having to work at a job where they aren’t really sure about what they’re supposed to be doing! It is the manager’s responsibility to clarify all the responsibilities of a role. What is expected of them? Who can they count on for support? What tools do they have access to?
  2. Empower your employees: If you’re one of those control freak managers, this pointer might have you breaking out in hives. But if you expect your employees to make strong contributions at work, you have to be able to delegate more responsibility to them. Empowering your employees will make them accountable and feel like their valued in the organization.
  3. Keep them connected and in the loop: No, I am not referring to status meetings here, ‘coz we all know how that can be the bane of corporate life! This is a two-fold pointer. Firstly, you need to make sure your team understands what’s going on with the company – don’t just share the good news or bad news – engage the team in a conversation about it – you’d be surprised – they might actually care. Secondly, as a manager, it is also your job to champion your employees’ achievements with top management. In this way, the management team can be kept in the loop on the progress of all their employees, and it’ll also make you look good :)
  4. Really give a $h!t about your employees: If your employees are happy and truly engaged, you’ll reap the benefits. To make them feel that way, it is important that employees understand their career paths. They have to know that you really care about their growth and advancement in the company. Take some time out each month to check in with your employees and make sure they are on the right track.
  5. Encourage peer-to-peer relationship building: This last pointer is one closest to my heart. Having a best friend at work is actually one of the 12 ways that Gallup measures employee engagement. Sadly though, it isn’t always easy to make a best friend at work, unless of course you’re spending quality time with them both on and off-site. At Wagepoint, we built Play to satisfy this exact need. We created a tool that not only helps make better managers, but also helps employees have some fun at work and in the process become better friends.