Keeping Employees Engaged in Tough Times

Layoffs, reduced pay, more hours, decimated 401(K)s are all conspiring to distract and demoralize employees. So how do you keep your staff engaged, motivated and enthusiastic?

One of the most difficult aspects of managing these days is keeping employees – who often are stressed about everything from their 401(k)s to increasing workloads – engaged while on the job.
Still, there are a number of ways that managers can be proactive when it comes to energizing their staffs, such as:
·         Having an open door. Managers are under enormous stress themselves trying to balance a leaner workforce with budget constraints and a globally competitive market, but they have to find time to listen when a worker is anxious or worried. Taking  employees to lunch or even on a walk on a nice day can go a long way in letting staff members know a manager is tuned in. It also helps to get employees physically removed from the workplace so that they can decompress and release some stress.
·         Keeping them informed. Workers need to understand on a continual basis how what they are doing on the job directly impacts not only their team’s success, but a company’s success. Knowing their contributions are important is critical in keeping them engaged and focused.
·         Using social media. While face-to-face contact is best, that may not always be possible because employees may be in far-flung locations or even on other continents. Using Twitter or Facebook is a way to stay connected on a regular basis.
·         Helping them enjoy their job. Whether it’s providing pizza on a Friday afternoon or giving them tasks they really enjoy, managers should always focus on making the job not be so much, well, work. Stress can be reduced – for both the manager and the employee – when there is some fun and sense of fulfillment for a day’s work.

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