As of November 2015, Gallup estimated only 32% of workers are engaged in their jobs. So, that means 68% of employees are disengaged (i.e. zombies). Yikes…do the math on that one for your own teams or organizations! Gallup also found that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion per year.
There are many reasons why employees are disengaged, from not trusting in their leaders, to the job not matching their skill sets, to not feeling valued. Here’s a recent example I’ve encountered.
A good friend of mine walked into work one morning and was told she will be reporting to a new manager effective immediately. She was told this without any input or time to process it because the announcement went out shortly after she was told. My friend is a valued employee and her first reaction was to start looking for a new job.
Obviously, those moments don’t happen every day but small setbacks do. Here are a few examples of setbacks that can occur in the life of a typical employee –
- a project delay that results in customers not getting what you promised them
- a promotion you didn’t get
- a job that doesn’t challenge you
- a team member not pulling their weight which requires you to do more
- having a micro-manager
- back to back meetings with no break to reflect (or actually work)
In the grand scheme of life, these are all minor setbacks. No one died…you still have a job…you’re healthy…but for some people, even one seemingly minor setback can result in becoming disengaged and unproductive. Of course, there are a lot of steps an organization can and should take to engage their employees but how many employers are actually taking them?
I’m an advocate for teaching employees the skills to take control of their life and their reactions to the setbacks that occur. In other words, teach your employees to become more resilient.
People tend to think resilience is bouncing back when life deals you a big blow, like a tragedy or severe setback. Although that’s an accurate description, it’s also one’s ability to bounce back from life’s pressures, and those pressures don’t have to be major setbacks. They can be any setbacks you may experience on a regular basis, like the ones mentioned above.
So, what’s resilience got to do with it? Here are a few specific ways resilience training can benefit your employees.
It gets them focused on what they want out of life. Many times employees feel stuck in their careers or are looking for the next step just to have a next step (and not because they truly want it). They may be pulling in good salaries, kicking their feet up and not be giving it all at their jobs. Resilience training can help them think through what they want out of life and if their current personal and professional situation is aligned with it.
It helps them understand how they are showing up at work and at home. Many emotions play into a work day. Perhaps the things they are doing (or not doing) during the day cause them to go home drained and lifeless to their families. Or perhaps they show up to meetings and projects defensive and pessimistic, bringing everyone else down around them.
It allows reflection on what drains and boosts them emotionally, mentally and physically. These tactics can be used to thrive through setbacks (and a day of back to back meetings).
It provides ways to boost their physical resilience with sleep, good nutrition and movement during the day. We all know we should eat better, exercise and sleep more but the majority of people don’t do it. Who can overcome setbacks when they are tired, hungry or listless?
It puts your employees in the driver’s seat. Most of all, resilience training exposes gaps they may have and gives them the choice to change a behavior. Too often we tell employees what we want them to do instead of exposing the cracks and letting them decide if they want to fill any of them.
Still not sure how resilience training could help your company? Think about what your employees could accomplish if they were mentally focused, emotionally positive, physically fueled and aligned with what matters most to them.