Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to How to Motivate your Employees to be Engaged in Their Work. This is the final topic in the 2019 Deer Oaks Supervisor Excellence Employee Engagement Series. Thank you for being with us again today.
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Let's go ahead and get started. Let me start with a quote by Kevin Plank who is the founder of Under Armour, the sportswear company that most of us are probably pretty familiar with. I really like this 'cause it's a good jumping off place when we're talking about the importance of motivating people, motivating employees. And what Kevin Plank said is that employees are more motivated when they feel needed, appreciated, and valued.
Now, that certainly seems like one of those "of course" statements, right? It's, like, well, of course. But it's important for us to talk about that as a jumping off place. There's a lot of research that shows that there's a large percentage of employees across America that don't feel appreciated, and they don't feel valued.
And it's interesting. This is a really important sort of a premise for our conversation today. In the book The Leadership Challenge one of my favorite leadership books written by Kouzes and Posner. The book, again, if you're taking notes is The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. Kouzes is K-O-U-Z-E-S. And Posner is P-O-S-N-E-R. Again, The Leadership Challenge.
They have a lot of research in there. And one research study that really kind of hits the nail on the head to what we're talking about here is that 70% of American employees say that they don't feel appreciated enough at work. Now, if you think about that, when you belong to an organization that makes you feel important, that makes you feel appreciated. They communicate that they value your contributions, your capabilities, and you feel like you're an important part of the team. You belong. Your needed. Of course you're going to feel more motivated.
But the truth is, from the research, there's a large number of employees in the world today that are not experiencing that in their workplace. And so that's what today is all about. And I want to talk about some of the core behaviors and approaches that leaders can use, that managers and supervisors can use to help their employees feel more needed, appreciated, and valued so they'll become more motivated to be fully engaged in their work.
Let me talk a little bit more about the reason why it's really important for all of us to pay attention to this subject. I mean, it's a difference-maker. And again, there's so much research nowadays in terms of why many employees are not motivated and engaged. Gallup's national survey, and I want to start with this right now, they basically have found, and they've been doing these surveys for years, and the sample size is very relevant. It's over a million employees across the country, and it's all industries public and private. What they found is, in general, less than 1 in 4 or less than 25% of non-management employees are engaged in their work.
And we'll define engaged as fully motivated and productive, people that come to work motivated, to give 100%, and be productive each and every day. And so that's interesting to think only one in four. There's a big deficit there. And then to go a little bit further, Global Force who does a lot of research around employee satisfaction and employee engagement, they say that engaged employees stay twice as long with their organization. I mean, so that retention, employee retention with engaged employees is a lot more significant. The numbers are a lot better.
They're 85% more efficient in their work, 10 times less likely to call in sick. When you love your job, when you're engaged, when you're committed to the organization's mission, when you've got a great boss, and you love your co-workers, you love the kind of work that you do, you're not looking for reasons to call in sick. And so I think that's really significant. And they're also, they're better co-workers. They're 58% more likely to help a co-worker. That's huge.
And then last but not least, I want to point out that according to this last statistic, I have at the bottom here, this last study, is from SHRM, the Society for Human Resources Management. It talked about non-financial motivators for US employees. The number one non-financial motivator for US employees is to be treated with respect.
And so I want to start our conversation today to say that those of you that are on the call today, and I think probably that's most of us because this is a Supervisor Excellence Series, but most of you on the call today are probably supervisors. Our titles might be different. Some of us are going to have coordinator titles. Some of us will be called supervisor, some will be manager, some will be director. But regardless of our title, if we're leading people, if we're supervising people, this information is really important because a lot of the research shows that to get more engagement, the key relationship that takes an employee from someone who's average to someone who gets engaged and wants to give 100% and is fully productive is the way that we manage them day to day, the way that we lead them in the workplace.
The real tipping point in terms of employee engagement is the relationship that each employee has what their direct supervisor and the way that they communicate day to day. That's the key piece we're going to talk about today. Because when supervisor employee relationships are strong, when there's a good bond there, when an employee knows that you care about them as a person, when you communicate effectively with them day to day, when they feel respected, when they fell valued, when they feel needed, like we talked about from the Under Armour quote at the beginning, employees are much more likely to get engaged, give 100%, and be fully productive.
So really, we as supervisors, and I'm a supervisor at Deer Oaks, we as supervisors, we're the difference-makers. If we lead people well, we do a good job of leading people and communicating with them day to day, that's going to be the number one reason why they decide to become full-- that'll create motivation and give them the impetus to become fully engaged and productive in their work.
All right, so let's talk about how we can do that. So easier said than done, right? Because supervisors are busy people. We have a lot to do every day, right? You have a big to-do list. I have a big to-do list. But we have to prioritize spending time with our employees.
So first and foremost, we have to see spending time with employees as an investment. 20 years ago, folks-- and I've been managing people now for over 25 years-- 20 years ago, when I was managing teams, I didn't get this. I felt like my priority when I went to work everyday was getting as many tasks completed as possible. So I was very task-focused. I was more of a task manager than a people leader. And, of course, getting tasks completed is part of our job, right?
I just didn't realize that the quality of the time I spent with the employees and how I communicated with them day to day was a driver of motivating them to get more engaged and to do a better job in completing the tasks. I was focused more on tasks than on people. And so I would micromanage people trying to get tasks done. I would sometimes, you know, just try to spend most of my day double checking, checking on work, talking about work, going from person to person, very focused on, is this done yet? What about that? Is that one done yet?
But I wasn't focusing on the quality of the interactions and the quality of the relationship that I had with each individual employee. And so I was missing something, and I needed to get better training, which I did over the years. But I want to give you a good example of why it's important that we focus on people if we want to get productivity.
I mean, the research is really conclusive that if you show employees that you care about them-- this is a great research study from the Carnegie Technological Institute and the Carnegie training company that says that the number one reason an employee gets engaged in their work and gives 100% is because they know their boss cares about them as a person. So this is the key, and I was missing this 20 years ago.
I was so focused on getting the work done, I took my eye off the ball, and I wasn't spending enough time building relationships with the employees and demonstrating that I care about them and that I had their back and that I was there for them. So I kind of had it backwards. And so now, I've come to realize that it's most important every day to spend time with the people and to really truly be there for them.
That my number one goal now as a leader and as a manager is to actually make sure that people feel supported, and I'm there for them, that I've got good relationships with them, that I care about them as people. Because when that happens, the employees, then, are more motivated to get engaged in their work and be fully productive.
And so we got to spend time with people everyday. We've got to ask them questions about themselves. And I'm not talking about prying into their personal lives. I'm talking about just getting to know people. What are they interested in? What are their goals? You know, ask them about their families. People love when their boss says, hey, how's your family? How are your kids?
Now, of course, if someone is uncomfortable if I'm asking a question about their background or their family or their interests or hobbies or anything like that, I back off. I'm not going to pry. But I want employees to know that I care about them as people. So when I'm talking with my employees, I ask them about how their weekend was, how their children are, how their favorite football team is doing. And so the more I get to know people on the team-- and this is the key-- as we get to know people better, the more you have to talk to them about.
There's a great article out there called Small Talk Isn't Small that the day-to-day conversation that you have just visiting with people, and I'm not talking about wasting time sitting around just, you know, not working and just socializing, not at all. But I'm talking about taking a couple of minutes a day to stop by someone's desk and say, hey, how is your weekend?
And if you know something about that employee's life, and they've told you something like maybe I have a relative in the hospital, follow up and say, hey, is your relative doing better? I hope they're doing better. Or if they share with you something about an area that they're interested in, to follow up and say, hey, did you have any chance to get out and ride horses this past week, and we're you able to do that?
So whatever the case may be. But it's really important, folks. Think about it. Think about how you feel when your bosses ask you questions about yourself, what's important to you, about your family, when they talk to you about your career path. This is really important, of course. Supervisors sometimes spend so much time talking about today's work and this week's work, that we forget to take a step back with employees and say, hey, where do you see yourself going in another year or three years or five years?
How can I help you get there? How can I help you to achieve your career goals? What are your professional development goals? What new skills would you like to learn? And then to see what you can do to help support them in moving forward in their careers. I mean, of course, that's going to demonstrate to employees that you really care about them, and you're going to benefit from it well as they become more skilled.
And again, also show concern about the quality of people's lives and their work-life balance. I have one employee that tends to work a lot of weekend time. I can tell by seeing when I get emails from her. And so from time to time, I'll say, please take care of yourself. Please make sure you're keeping your life in balance. And I really value you. You do great work for us, and I don't want to see you burnout. And so make sure that your employees know that you care about the quality of their lives and their work-life balance. Make sure they're taking care of themselves.
All right, next, let's talk about communication. So this is a great quote. Dr. Bob Nelson's a leadership trainer. I love this quote is, "An employee's motivation is a direct result of the sum of their interactions with their manager." The quality of how we communicate with employees is so key. Remember, we had mentioned earlier that the number one thing American employees want when they come to work every day, the number one non-financial motivator is respect.
When you communicate respectfully with employees. For example, if you're an old-school kind of a boss, and I was this way 20 years ago, who when you interact with people or primarily telling them what to do and how to do it. Like, you know, here I need you to do this task, and don't forget to do step one, step two, and step three, and then going back and looking over their shoulder.
Most of you probably recognize that. That's a micromanaging kind of a leadership approach. That's not very comfortable for people. That don't feel respected when their boss is telling them what to do and how to do it and not asking for their input at all and always looking over their shoulder.
There was a great article recently about a young worker. I think she was in her mid 20s. I think it was in Forbes magazine. And the story was talking about the importance of leadership communication, of effective day-to-day communication in motivating and retaining employees.
So this woman was being interviewed, and she said she went to work for this company. It was in a call center. And she had a master's degree, so she was pretty well-educated, mid 20s, I believe. And then she said from the first month, she said she really didn't like her boss because her boss, whenever he spoke to her, it was just to tell her what to do, never asked her opinion, didn't seem interested in her at all as a person, but just would hover, and was such a micromanager.
She came back five minutes late from lunch, he would be standing at her door saying, you know, you're late. And she basically said from that first month on, I realized this is not a guy I want to work for. I am not motivated to do good work for this guy, and she basically spent the next five months looking for another job and eventually left.
And I want to share that example, because if we're not interacting with employees in ways that are motivating to the employees, not only do they need to know that we care about them, but as we interact day to day, they need to know that we value them, that we respect their opinion, that we're interested in their ideas. And so we've got to be thinking about how we communicate with people day to day as a key leadership function.
Because, again, if an employee comes away from interactions with their boss feeling respected, cared about, supported, motivated, they're going to do their best work. They're going to get engaged. They're much more likely to get engaged. But if when they interact with us, they feel like we're not important to them, they feel like all we care about is what we can do for them, they don't care about us as people, again, they don't respect our ideas or capabilities, again, they're not going to be as likely to get engaged and do their best work.
Another example, and this was a personal conversation I had with a municipality employee. This was a guy, probably about 30 years old, give or take, again, highly educated, had a master's degree. And I was talking to him about his relationship with his boss. And he said to me, I've worked for this guy for two years. And he said, honestly, I don't know how long I'm going to stay here.
He said, you know, I've got a brain. I've got a master's degree. He said, but this guy has not once, in two years of reporting to him, has not once asked me for my opinion about anything. The only time he interacts with me is to tell me to do something. And again, he doesn't ask for my input at all. He said, I feel like a tool. I don't feel like he has any appreciation that I'm well-educated, and I've got good ideas.
And that's why the guy was saying he might not stay there much longer. We have to realize, if we're not interacting with people in an effective way, asking their opinions-- our employees are bright. I mean, they're capable. We've hired them to do a job. We need to give them room to be able to. Share their ideas.
And so let's try to make a goal. Try to be as intentional as you can. I've gone from, 20 years ago, my number one focus on the job was you was getting stuff done, getting tasks accomplished, like I shared. Nowadays, I've come almost full circle, and I see my number one goal every day at work is to have great interactions with employees. Make sure that they know I respect them, I'm interested in their ideas and their input. And when that happens, the employees, then, are going to be more motivated to go out and do a great job on the tasks.
I mean, I had it backwards 20 years ago, so I've gotten that sort of in the right order now. I see time with employees as an investment. And as I spend time, quality time, and I communicate effectively with them, they, in turn, do a better job doing the work. I mean, it's huge. The productivity I get from my teams now versus what I got 20 years ago is night and day. It's much better now that I've become a better leader.
So now, my goal today has gone from getting as many tasks done as possible to having as many high quality interactions as possible. And so, again, see them as an investment. Don't rush through them. 20 years ago, I basically would stop and talk to someone about a task, and I would move on quickly. I didn't stop to bond.
And it's just the research is so clear that when employees feel like their bosses care about them-- the only way that they're going to know you care about them is to spend time with them. So don't be in too much of a hurry. Slow down. Have good quality interactions. Ask people about themselves.
When you're giving assignments, don't just tell them what to do and how to do it. But actually introduce the assignment. Of course, that's your role as the leader, right? But then get their input and ideas as to how the work's going to get done. And show support and show interest in their ideas, and show support for their ideas. That's going to be empowering to them. They'll feel that you respect their capabilities and, again, are going to be more motivated and engaged.
Remember this one thing is that-- I thought this was really interesting-- because there's so much information coming at people now through the internet, through the 24-hour news cycle, through technology, people are overwhelmed. Retention of data, of info, information, is not what it used to be because there's just so much coming at us. We're overwhelmed.
But the average person today forgets about 80% to 90% of what was said to them during an interaction with somebody else within about a week, six to seven days, they forget 80% to 90%. But what they never forget is how you made them feel during that conversation, so if you were respectful, if you were interested, if you listened to them well. If you solicited their input and made them feel appreciated and valued, they won't forget that. They'll really appreciate you as a leader because of the way you interact with them. That's the most important thing.
All right, so to take that a step further, we also, if you want to truly mot-- or get people to be as motivated as possible, knowledge is power. Strive to over-communicate. Do the best you can to keep employees informed about what's going on in the organization. If there's changes coming down the road, keep them in the loop. And when you're talking to them, make sure you're present with them.
And it's hard sometimes. We, as supervisors, because every supervisor's a busy person, right? We all have long to-do lists. And it can be really easy when you're trying to talk to someone to be thinking about what you're going to say next or what you need to do next and to not be fully present with that employee.
So one of the best skills I've learned the last five years, and I'm still working on it. I'm not there yet, but I'm getting better by practicing and focusing on it, is to be a better listener. And folks, some of the current skill-development information about listening goes much deeper than just listening to the words. I mean, so we need to listen to the words that the person's saying. But if you're fully present with them, making eye contact, nodding, showing interest, it really means a lot to people when they know you're engaged.
Even if you're on the phone with someone, they can tell sometimes as they're talking if you're with them or not. As a matter of fact, if you're multitasking when the other person's talking on the phone, people can tell. They really can. I think we all know what I'm talking about, right?
And so you want to give people full attention. You want to listen to them. You want to hear the words they're saying. You want to make eye contact if you're in the room together and be an active listener, say things like, uh-huh, OK. Tell me more about that. I mean, stay active in the conversation.
And then also listen with your heart. This was a big kind of epiphany for me. But, I mean, we're talking about empathy, that people want to know that you've heard them, that you can feel what they feel. They want to know that you care about whatever they're talking about. And so I really now try to go much deeper than just hearing the words. I try to really feel the feelings and say things like, wow, I mean, that must be really hard for you.
Or when you went through that, what did that feel like? Or how did you feel about that? I really try to do a better job of connecting with people emotionally 'cause it really does make a difference in terms of people feeling like you're with them and you care about them.
And then last but not least, we want to be less directive and more collaborative. So as I mentioned earlier, old-school-- well, let me take a step back-- old-school management communication typically was very directive, where you would have the person in authority did most of the talking, and then the employees were more passive and just were carrying out whatever the supervisor directed.
Nowadays, the best practices in leadership is really more about collaboration where instead of talking at people, we're talking with them. We're working together. It's more of a "we" than an "I." And the better we can do that, I mean, and that's really coaching. The heart of coaching is having collaborative conversations with people.
So, for example, the difference between directive assigning of work where you would tell someone here's what I need you to do, and here's how I need you to do it, that would be directive, right? We're not even asking the employee for their opinion. We're not showing an interest in their capability. We're just basically telling them what to do and how to do it.
And when you do that too often, you'll be seen as kind of a micromanager. And I did way too much of that early in my management career. As opposed to collaborating where we're talking to the employee about assigning work to and say, hey, I've got a new assignment for you. I think you'd do a great job with it because you've got experience in this area, and you had said your interested in these kinds of things.
Here's the assignment, here's the goal, here's the expectation, here's the timeline. What do you think we should do to get this done? What do you think our work plan should be? And solicit that employee's input into that work plan. When we collaborate like that and show an interest in their ideas, number one, the employee's typically going to take more ownership because they had some input into it.
And people typically will follow through better when they have insight, right? They're going to buy in more. And that's why it's so important to be more collaborative than directive. When we're directive, employees feel like we're telling them what to do. When we're collaborative, we're working together to come up with the plan. And, of course, again, they're going to take more ownership, feel more respected, and typically be more engaged and motivated.
In addition, and I just mentioned the piece about giving people input as much as possible. Let's drill down a little bit further. So in addition to assigning work, it's empowering to work teams when the supervisor initiates brainstorming conversations. Again, I think the more we can solicit people's input, get their ideas, get them more engaged in participating in the process, get them involved in the planning.
I love brainstorming as a great way to empower people and get them to feel more a part of things, to call it a meeting with a team. And rather than having the agenda, I used to, 20 years ago, again, I used to go into team meetings with a full agenda, and I did most of the talking.
Nowadays, I might have two things to talk to my team about, and I basically introduce the subject, but then I facilitate a conversation, a brainstorming conversation with the team. And we have some great conversations together and come up with some great ideas. And it's interesting, I think we all know, two heads are better than one anyway.
But back in the day when I was doing too much of the talking, I was really selling the process short. Not only was I not being respectful enough to my employees and wasn't doing a good job of motivating them because I was I was too directive and sometimes a micromanager, but I was missing out on some great ideas that they probably had that I never learned about because I didn't ask. Nowadays, I'm always asking people, what do you think we should do?
Has anyone had any experience with this kind of thing before? How do you think we should solve this problem? So the more we can give people input into what we're doing, the more engaged they're going to get. And then, of course, we want to regularly express appreciation, provide recognition. I mean, that goes without saying. But we do need to remember to do that again.
The research does say that, by and large, a lot of supervisors aren't doing a good job with that. Because, again, 70% in this one study in The Leadership Challenge of employees say they don't feel appreciated enough. So that means, obviously, there's a deficit. And I try to make that a regular part of how I interact with people. Hey, good job with this. Thank you for doing that. I appreciate the good work you're doing here. So we have to make that a priority.
As I get towards the end here before opening it up for questions-- performance management. I want to remind us that performance management, when you're trying to work with someone that you've given an assignment to-- to provide oversight to make sure that the work's getting done, let's not forget to collaborate. The difference between micromanaging and collaboration, again, is micromanaging is where you stay in control, and you're the one asking all the questions and giving all the directives.
Collaboration is you're doing it together in a partnership. You and the employee partner. So, for example, if you've got a project going on, right? Let's say it's a 30-day project. Let me give an example of how you could do it as a partnership. Rather than telling them what to do and how to do it and just ask them to turn it in when it's in, work together. Roll your sleeves up and say, let's do this together. So have the initial conversation, again, collaboratively. Let's talk together about what the work plans should be to get this project done.
But the important part for supervision and oversight is to agree to some sort of a follow-up communication plan. Now, this is not for one-off tasks, but for any significant projects is to have a communication structure. Like, at the end of your collaboration meeting when the employee has said, here's how I'm going to get the job done, and we've agreed that it will be done in 30 days.
And you say, great idea. I'm looking forward to seeing the work. I think you're going to do a great job with this. You might want to say, can you update me maybe halfway through just to give me a progress report? I just want to make sure that we're on the same page together and offer any help that I can provide or any support that I can provide. That gives you as a leader an opportunity to keep your finger on the pulse of the project.
And in case it gets off track, right? Because sometimes that happens. There's miscommunication sometimes between what we think the employee is going to do and what the employee actually does. But this gives you an opportunity to make midpoint or midstream correction if you need to. And so I find that's a key step in communication and keeping projects, ongoing projects moving in the right direction, staying on the same page together with you and the employee.
All right, last but not least, if we want to keep our team fully motivated and engaged, we have to watch out to not do things that are demotivating, right? So we talked about don't micromanage like I used. That did not work well. And I had a fair amount of turnover back then. I really did. And I just didn't realize-- at the time, when people were leaving, I didn't realize why they were leaving.
But it was, honestly, a lot of it was my management style. I was too hands-on. I was too much of a micromanager. I had to go and get better training. Now, here's some other behaviors that I think most of us would agree with are demotivating to employees-- taking credit for the work that your employees do. I mean, we obviously should not do that.
If your boss says great job about something, make sure that you're sharing the credit. And when you hit reply, copy that employee or those employees that were involved and to say, it was a team effort. So-and-so and so-and-so actually did most of the work, and they did a great job. Make sure we're sharing the credit. We're giving credit where credit's due.
Another behavior that I think we would all recognize demotivates employees and can hurt their day-to-day motivation and engagement is if we act like we're too important for them, or we don't have time for them. And so we need to make ourselves available. Remember, it's those relationships with their employees and investing in time to bonding together, the small talk, spending time together so they know you care about them. That's really important to maintaining ongoing motivation.
Number three, I think most of us would recognize here-- if we don't manage our emotions well. If you've ever had a boss that was overly emotional, you tend to walk on eggshells around him, right? You don't want to get the boss upset. And so people are-- you know, they literally, they minimize interacting with bosses like that. And so we got to be people that are in control of our emotions.
Employees want their leaders to be emotionally stable. They want to know that they can count on us to be there for them in good times and bad times. And so we need, as leaders, be in control of our emotions, have a degree of emotional intelligence. I know we've all heard that term.
And I'm not saying that you shouldn't feel what you feel, because we're all human, but that we've got to do a good job of keeping those emotions in check. We can't be letting our emotions get out of control to the point where it makes people feel uncomfortable being around us, or it gets in the way of our interactions with our staff.
And then last but not least, I think it's important to remember that if we don't have our employees backs, and then they will lose trust in us if they feel like we don't have their back. There's a couple of management behaviors that we need to avoid that illustrate to employees that we don't have their back and that they perhaps can't trust us. One is if we throw them under the bus and blame them for something in front of others or to our bosses. Because a lot of times when-- and mistakes get made. I think we all know that.
Employees make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Supervisors make mistakes. We're all human. But when someone makes mistakes, we've got to be there for them to say to that employee, yeah, I understand that you made a mistake. But you know what? Don't beat yourself up too much. We all make mistakes. Let's just learn from it.
As long as an employee knows that, you know, when they fail, when they make a mistake, you're going to have their back, you're not going to put all the blame on them, you're not going to come down too hard on them, they'll have more confidence and more trust in you and feel secure that you've got their back, that you're someone they can really depend on.
So all right, we covered a lot in a very short period of time today. Before we wrap up, let's open it up for questions. So again, if you have any questions today, if you would please type your questions into the question box in the Go To Webinar software in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. You could type any questions that you have now, please.
By the way, we had a great turnout today. We've got a lot of people on the line today, and everyone has stayed on the whole time, which I certainly appreciate. So again, folks if you have any questions, please feel free to type them into the question box in the GoToWebinar software.
I do want to remind you that your questions will be confidential. And what I mean by that is I won't be reading the names of anyone who asks questions. I'll just be reading questions aloud and then answering them to the best of my ability for everyone's benefit today. All right, got our first question. Thank you. It's a good one.
"How do you continue to motivate even when it is a very difficult employee?" That's a great question. And so let's talk about that for a second. So now, it's interesting. The Gallup research I mentioned earlier. Remember, I mentioned that only 25%-- according to Gallup, only 25% of American employees or non-supervisory employees, so line workers, if you will or line employees, are what's called engaged. Which means 75% are not particularly engaged.
At the other end of the spectrum, 20% have been found to be actually difficult, actively disengaged or difficult employees. But what I want to share with you is although it might be a stretch to think a really difficult, negative employee who is not very motivated is going to come all the way over to the other side of the continuum and become your star employee and be totally engaged, maybe that's a stretch. But we can get people to become a little bit more motivated and get a little bit more productivity from them, even difficult-to-deal-with employees if we coach them well.
So if we spend time with them and show them interest, the things we talked about today-- show interest in their lives-- they're going to be a little bit more motivated to do a little bit more, typically. When we coach them, you know, if we give them input, if we ask for their opinions, they're typically going to step up and be a little bit more interested and motivated to do a little bit more.
Again, if they're a difficult person or a really negative person, they may never become your star employee. But if you can get them to go from someone who's not doing much, who's pretty demotivated or disengaged to at least giving a little bit of effort, you've got a gain there. So thank you for that question.
We've got a lot of questions coming in. Thank you, folks. All right, second question. "What do you do if you feel like you've done all that's been suggested, and the employees still seems to be completely unmotivated." That's a good question. Now, at the end of the day, at the end of the day, employee motivation and effort is up to the employee.
We can influence that, of course, by being good supervisors and utilizing some of the approaches that we've talked about today. And, of course, there's other things that we can do as well. But at the end of the day, it's up to the employee-- that old saying, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.
So all we can do is give it our best effort and make sure that we're spending time with them. Again, make sure that you're giving them input. Make sure that you're showing respect for their capabilities and those kinds of things. Try to maybe assign them work that they might find more interesting.
There was one story of a completely demotivated employee from a local municipality. The guy was about-- I think he was close to 60 and was biding his time towards retirement. And his boss came to find out-- and he was really demotivated. He was just, you know, just doing the minimum, just enough to keep his job but really wasn't giving much effort.
But the boss found out that the guy was an avid baseball fan. And so he actually assigned him-- he worked in maintenance for a city-- he actually assigned him to be the head groundskeeper of one of the best, most important ballparks in that city where the traveling college players play in the summertime. So it really was a kind of a pristine ballpark. Because he found a way to give the guy some work or an assignment that he was really interested in, the guy did step up and started to become a little bit more productive because he was doing something he was interested in.
So one additional idea is to try to find maybe an assignment or two that you can give to someone that they'll be more interested in which can-- cause it's human nature, right? If we're doing work that we're interested in, you're going to tend to be more motivated and more productive.
Another question is, "Can I get a copy of the presentation?" Absolutely. All you need to do is hit reply to your GoToWebinar invitation today, and just request a copy of the slide deck. We'd be happy to send it to you. All right, next question.
Folks I really appreciate it. These are thoughtful questions. Our next one is, "How do you engage employees who you first did not engage in the beginning?" How can you change that? That's a great question. So let's say you've started a relationship with an employee, and right now, they're not very engaged.
Basically, how I start to work towards getting more engagement is I start to have one-on-one meetings with people and basically let them know that I want to have more of a collaborative relationship with you as we're working together. I mean, I value your capabilities. You have a lot of experience. And if you don't mind, as we talk about problems to be solved and, you know, work assignments here moving forward, I want to meet with you more ahead of time just to kind of ask for your input.
I want to do less-- you know, I don't know it all, and I tell people that. I don't know it all. I want to do less directing, and I just want to have more conversations with you where we're partnering together on some of these things because you have a lot of experience. And I want to gain from that.
And if it's something you weren't doing in the past, you can say, I should have probably been doing this sooner than now. But moving forward, if you don't mind, I want to be more of your partner in our relationship together as we do this, as we move forward on getting this work accomplished. And so we're going to be having more conversations around brainstorming together how we're going to get things done. So that's a good way to start that process if you haven't done it in the past.
All right, next question. Here's a good one. This is probably coming from a senior manager. "How can you encourage a manager or supervisor, my words, to be more engaged with their employees?" I mean, that's interesting, and that's a good question, and so because engagement is a two-way street.
I truly believe collaboration is the key, is to have meetings with people on a regular basis. I'm a big believer in weekly or monthly one-on-one meetings, depending on the size of your team, where people touch base. Standing meetings work really well. It's kind of like a place holder to make sure that you're having good communication with your staff.
And I do one-on-one meetings, we do one-on-one meetings here with our folks at Deer Oaks. And in those meetings, we reconnect with each other, ask how things are going, show interest in people's lives, build those relationships, but also, you know, discuss priorities, deal with problems that need to be solved. And it's a great opportunity to work together in a collaborative way.
And again, as people are collaborating together, typically, they're going to get more engaged because each side is taking some ownership in the process. If you have a supervisor that maybe doesn't seem to be as engaged, let me think about how I can couch that. Let's say you've got a supervisor that's reporting to you that doesn't seem to be doing a good job of engaging with their employees or getting their employees to be engaged.
You could just suggest to that supervisor that you're coaching. You could suggest to them that a best practice is to give people more input into the work. And you can ask them, when you're making assignments at work to people, what kind of input are you giving them? Are you brainstorming when there's new projects coming down the pike? Are you brainstorming with your team as to how to best approach these? Because, you know, our staff here within the department has a lot of great ideas, and we've got a lot of capable people. So you can just encourage and coach the supervisors reporting to you to do a better job of engaging their employees.
All right, thank you for that. Got time for a couple more questions today. Here's a really good question. "How do you motivate someone to come to work and be more of a team player?" Let's see. Let me just deal with that first piece. There's some additional pieces to this question, but I think the first part of this question really is very insightful, and I think it's something that we'll all experience from time to time.
I think we all know that there are some employees, again, remember, Gallup said only one in four are really engaged. That means three out of four are not very engaged. And you've got that 20% at the far end that are actively disengaged. And so there are some people that are going to come to work, and they're not going to be interested in being a good team player and bonding with their colleagues and being a good team player.
They're basically going to come into work for a paycheck. And a lot of times, they just stay disconnected, and they're not going to give a full effort. And sometimes, they're even going to be difficult to get along with. And so when you've got people like that, again, one of the things I think that's important is to not-- a lot of times, when we run into a difficult employee, we'll have the tendency to back off and maybe not spend as much time with that person 'cause they're hard to work with.
And that's human nature, of course. No one wants to spend a lot of time with people that are difficult. But when we're in a supervisory role, we have to spend a good amount of coaching time with all of our employees, right? It's part of our job responsibility so not just the ones that are easier to work with. And so continue to be a good coach to the more difficult employees, the folks that are not very much being a team player.
I will appeal to people's egos. So, for example, let's say I see I got a guy on the team that's a maverick. He keeps to himself, doesn't want to take part in team activities, doesn't seem very interested, just really kind of disengaged. I'll bring them in and say, hey, you know, you have a lot of experience, because everyone in a position on your team has got some level of capability, right? Say, hey, you've got a lot of experience, and I would like to tap more into that if you don't mind.
I really would. And we have some newer people on the team, would be one approach to say, I might want to have spend a little time or I'll have some of the newer people spend a little time with you just so they can learn from you. Because you've been here for a long time, and some of these new people, you know, they have a learning curve. They need to learn a lot more to get up to speed. And I think it would be great if I can somehow create an environment where they can learn from you.
So that's one approach to try to get someone to become a little bit more of a team player. You can do it through assignments. You don't have to do it in general. You could do it through assignments. You could assign a project to that demotivated person with someone else who's more motivated and have them work together on a project as a way to try to get them to step up and interact more with other team members. And sometimes, that helps strengthen the relationships between the team members and to get that demotivated person to step up a little bit.
So let's not give up on them. It's hard when we're dealing with demotivated or difficult employees. But let's not give up on them. Let's do our best to coach them, to make sure they know we care about them, to get them to step up and then at least do a reasonable amount of work. All right, folks, we've got time for one more question today.
Here's a really good question. "How do you cushion employees from upper management who may be micromanagers?" And I want to make sure that I keep this in context. So I think if I'm understanding the gist of this question is if people in upper management maybe are micromanagers, maybe are, you know, they're the hard-charging micromanagers. And you're a middle manager, and you would rather have-- you don't want your employees to be overly impacted by the micromanaging ways of the people above you in the organization.
You want to provide a buffer for them so they can have a better experience feeling supported by you as their direct supervisor so that they can be more motivated and engaged. And that's actually a great question to ask. And folks, we need to realize that culture, culture is like department culture. If you work for a department with 50 people, and you have a senior director at the top, where the environment really becomes real for people day to day is subculture.
Let's say you have one senior director, four supervisors, and then there's 10 people reporting to each of those four supervisors. Those individual supervisors managing 10 people, those are subcultures. That's where we can make the most impact as leaders. So even if the senior manager that's the head of the whole department, the 50-person department above me is a micromanager, I can cushion-- I'm going to have to deal with that, right? And I'm going to have to do my best to work and meet the needs of my boss and to work with their style 'cause they are who they are, and they're my boss. I have to respect that.
But it is part of my job to create the best environment I can for my direct reports so to create the best subculture, so to not treat-- so if my boss is micromanaging me, I don't want to, in turn, treat my employees that way. Sometimes, that happens. People tend to sometimes treat others the way they've been treated, and it's almost like the negative treatment, you know, or the negative management approach, it can run downhill.
But we need to, as supervisors, we need to cushion our employees for what's happening above us that maybe is not happening in the most effective way, and to make sure that we create the best environment for those that report directly to us. That was a great question. Thank you for that.
All right, folks. So we've come to the end of our time today. I want to thank you for your participation in the series this year. We will be doing another Deer Oak Supervisor Excellence Series here in 2020, so please be on the lookout for that.
And I want to wish each and every one of you a very, very happy holidays. At Dear Oaks, we truly appreciate it. It's a privilege to be able to provide EAP services for your organizations. And we hope, again, you have a great rest of the year and a super, super holiday. Take care. Thank you so much.