Disengaged by the daily grind? Time to speak up!
A friend of mine recently shared on LinkedIn:
“Despite working in an exciting lab, I find myself being worn down by the daily grind. Too much routine seems to be pedantic and saps my creativity in the lab. What are your tricks for staying engaged at work?”
If you’re feeling a bit ‘meh’ about your daily grind – that’s normal. That’s human. In an ideal world, every employee would feel safe in saying “I’m bored,” or “I don’t feel connected,” to their employers. And employers would welcome these conversations. Better yet, employers would provide solutions, even if it’s just a Band-Aid for the time being. But not every organization or company culture is built this way – and many just want their employees to put their heads down and get the work done.
According to Gallup1, 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged, and this lack of employee engagement can cost organizations upward of $450 to $550 million annually due to higher turnover and poor productivity2.
Clearly, my friend isn’t alone in this feeling.
Truth is – this was probably a scary thing for my friend to post. If you’re not feeling quite as bold, I get it. It’s a vulnerable position to be in.
So I’d thought I’d share some employee engagement ideas that can help improve your daily grind:
1. Switch up the routine
Try shaking things up in how your approach your work every day. Take a walk, move a standing meeting to a different time or day, work in a different room or location. Sometimes the small things help breathe new life into the everyday.
2. Buddy up
Schedule a weekly or bi-weekly 30-minute meeting with a colleague that you can vent and exchange ideas with on a call, room, lunch or on a walk. This is a great way to break away from the work conversation and get to know your colleagues better.
3. Start keeping track of the engaging and not-so-engaging
Try keeping a small list of what gets and keeps you engaged at work and what causes you to disengage, feel bored or makes you frustrated. This list could be great talking points when meeting with your manager.
4. Conduct an audit of your own work and process
Look at what and how you do your work every day. Is there something repetitive that could be optimized? Is there something you could delegate to free up your time? Is there something you want to be doing, but just haven’t gotten around to it? By taking a step back and evaluating, you can start to see opportunities to alter and improve your day-to-day workflow. These are also great nuggets to bring to meetings with your manager(s).
5. Ask if there’s an employee engagement committee – if not, start one.
Check to see if there’s a process, committee or individual in charge of managing employee experience and engagement within your organization. If there isn’t, volunteer to start one! This is a great way to bring you and your colleagues (who may feel the same way) together, and it’s a great way to begin a feedback loop to leadership. Plus, it looks great on your resume.