by Dov Baron
We all know that employee disengagement is at an all-time high, but what does that mean to you and your organization? Come with me on a journey: Imagine I ask you if you’d like to go out to dinner with me. As you and I sit down in the restaurant for a relaxing meal, you look over at a nearby table and see four people sitting together. The table is silent, but there is no indication that someone had said something awkward or offensive to create this intense silence.
You have a momentary flashback to your childhood and you consider that these “friends” may be praying, as their heads are down and there’s no eye contact. Then, the rampantly obvious hits you.
No, of course they are not praying. Each one of them has chosen to go out to dinner with friends, and rather than speaking to the person or persons in front of them, they are choosing to chat with someone who is not there. No doubt, they are telling the virtual friend how boring it is to be out with the folks in front of them. The sad thing is, most often, the person on the device does not even fully realize they are not there in any other form than as a warm body in the room.
Today, we have an ever-increasing number of devices we can use to communicate, and yet our communication skills appear to declining at an equally rapid rate. Could there be a connection between this and the fact that the younger end of Generation X, and now Generation Y (also known as the Millennials), seem to change jobs almost as often as they change underwear?
According to Gallop Research, 70 percent of employees are actively disengaged. This means they are sitting at their workstations and behaving pretty much the same way as the four folks in the restaurant we just described. Now, imagine that instead of just observing these diners being disengaged, you were also expected to pay their tab. My guess is that you said (at least under your breath) something resembling, “Screw that!”
Yet, this is exactly what is going on in the work world every single day if you do not find ways to actively engage and bond with your Millennial talent.
As leaders, we can no longer assume that our people are engaged just because we pay them — clearly, that is not the case. Real and lasting engagement is part of what creates a Fiercely Loyal team.
However, engagement has many dimensions, and the first of those is to understand the old idea that your personal and professional lives are separate is now dead wrong! Millennials do not separate work life from personal life. Actually that’s not entirely true, they sometimes will… when they are working in an environment where they are disengaged, and then they leave! What this means, at the simplest level, is you have got to get to know your people, and just as importantly, let them know you want them to be engaged.
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*This article is an adapted excerpt from Dov Baron’s upcoming book, “Fiercely Loyal: How High Performing Companies Develop and Retain Top Talent.” One of the most powerful elements of Dov’s new book is the little-known three sentences leading CEOs and HR use to keep their top talent. They are yours as a gift here.
Dov Baron speaks internationally and is a leading expert on The Power of Authentic Leadership for Creating a Corporate Culture of Fiercely Loyal Talent. To bring Dov in to speak to your group or organization, please contact Authentic Paragon Alliance at +1 778 397 7717. Find Dov online at FullMontyLeadership.com and follow him on Twitter @DovBaron.