Having a team that is invested in the success of your business is vital to your bottom line. According to a recent workplace report, only 15{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs, in the US this is costing upwards of US$550 billion a year in lost productivity. As businesses push to expand, teams are pushed harder with limited resources. The pace of change and expansion can mean that some people struggle to understand the value of their work within a company. This, and a lack of clear direction, can impact the performance of the most skilled worker.

To engage workers and ensure that your team is committed to the company, managers need to communicate goals, share company values, listen to staff and lead by example. However, having a team that is 100{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} invested all the time is not realistic for a business in our modern working environments. Most business leaders recognise that employees are people, so they have other emotional investments, needs and goals.

To understand how to engage your employees and ask for their best every day, you need to first identify your staff according to one of the following three types of employee.

Engaged (15{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} of the workforce). These are your employees who show up, who are enthusiastic, committed and creative. These people care about the quality of their work and are usually in roles that leverage their talents. Such people become leaders or mentors in your organisational structure and are likely to stay with your company long term. These people are positive, committed and balanced.

Not Engaged (67{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} of the workforce). Often such employees are relatively happy and satisfied in their role, but they do the bare minimum and are not invested in the company’s mission, vision, values or goals. These people offer you an opportunity. Many of these employees are unsure of the vision of the company, the goals of your organisation and what opportunities that such goals offer them. By communicating clearly with these people, you can motivate them to engage with the company, find the job roles that they are most suited to, and inspire them to want more from their work.

Actively Disengaged (18{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} of the workforce). Every workplace has such people; employees who are not committed to their work, and who are usually struggling in their personal life. These people are often not offering much to your company and are usually on the team because they possess a unique skill set that the company requires. Sometimes these same people can bring others down. While it is difficult to understand how to engage people who have checked out on many levels in life, it is worth looking deeper to understand why this type of employee is so deeply uninspired.

Leading By Example

Your business should be your passion. If you are not clear about the direction of your business, why it matters and what your goals are, you will be unable to hire managers who will excel at inspiring your team to commit to your vision. If you want a productive team of employees who want to see your business succeed, you first need to define your vision and then share it with those who share the same values.

Your Managers

Your management team is responsible for hiring the right people for the job and ensuring that those people are doing their job to the best of their ability. It is difficult to find the right talent, however, a great management team inspires others by action.

Your managers need excellent interpersonal skills. They need to understand how to motivate their team, how-to guide them towards the company goals, and when to allow people to take a step back. Managers should bring more than just production value to your business. They are the people who build trust in your ranks, and who are held to account when things are not going as planned.

For managers to effectively lead their teams, they need to know how their staff are feeling about their work, conditions and opportunities. Asking people to answer the following questions can help managers gauge workplace needs and individual needs.

  • Do you have the opportunity to work in your field of expertise every day?
  • Do you have the resources and training to thrive in your role?
  • Do you know what is expected of you and your work quality?
  • Is your voice heard and valued?
  • Are you given opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally?
  • Are you frequently given recognition, praise and constructive criticism?
  • Do you clearly understand the vision and purpose of the company and how you contribute to those goals?
  • Do you trust your manager and believe that they have your best interests and that of the company, in mind?

After assessing your team and understanding more about what they need to commit to your vision, you can begin to improve employee engagement. Your management teams need to:

Put People in the Right Role

You need the right talent in the right role to get the job done. When people are working in the area that is of most interest to them, or in the role that they are trained for, they will immerse themselves in the task and deliver quality work out of a sense of satisfaction and pride.

Offer Training

Give people the opportunity to succeed. If you can offer training and further people’s skills they will work with greater confidence, and perhaps discover more about themselves. This can lead to huge benefits for the company: highly skilled workers, people who are motivated out of self-interest and loyalty from employees who are given opportunities to advance themselves.

Meaningful Work

When people understand how they contribute to the company’s mission, purpose and strategic objectives they are motivated to commit to their tasks. Having skilled employees means little if they cannot understand their place in your structure or where the future might lead them.


Your employees need to know if their work is meeting with expectations. While you might have a formal meeting once or twice a year, it is important to casually check-in as well, just to boost morale, correct minor deviations and have an understanding of how people are feeling about their work, productivity levels and expectations.


Following this course means that managers might need to restructure, shuffle staff, implement training programs, hire new talent and even fire some people. Making changes to employee engagement levels requires time and transparency.

When staff understand that your goal to improve productivity is not about getting more done or only about the bottom line, but is also about creating a satisfying workplace where people are supported to reach their goals and complete the tasks that they are expert in. Those who are motivated and inspired will stay with your company and those who do not want to be part of a culture of change will leave.

Creating a workplace that is productive is vital to your bottom line. However, it is also vital for the success and wellbeing of your employees.