A “stay conversation” once or twice a year between manager and employee can gauge worker-engagement levels.

According to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report, 20% of U.S. workers are actively disengaged at work, costing the U.S. an estimated $450 to $550 billion annually. Gallup points to poor management—more specifically, “bosses from hell”—as the main culprit for disengagement.

In an effort to investigate ways to counteract disengaged employees, Software Advice, a resource for comparing talent management, interviewed Ruth Ross, the former Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Wells Fargo Bank and employee engagement guru. Ross offered some insights that all managers can use to turn the tides back to their favor. Try some of the following tips for how to engage disengaged employees:

Have a “Stay Conversation”
Mangers should have a “stay conversation” once or twice a year to gauge their employees’ engagement levels. In short, a stay conversation is a two-way conversation to encourage understanding and to foster change and growth. For example:

  • What’s your wish list for an enhanced new role, beyond what you’re doing today?
  • If you could change one thing about your job or the company, what would it be?
  • Do you feel like the work you do is meaningful? Why or why not?
  • What talent or skills do you wish we made more use of in your job?

Empower the Employee
Simply asking questions like these will not miraculously cure a disengaged employee. The next step is to collaborate to identify potential, actionable steps to re-engage the worker. Sometimes, the “stay conversation” may bring up new projects or responsibilities that better fit the employee’s skill set or interests. Take note of these opportunities, and consider empowering your employees with something they’ve mentioned as a passion.

The secret to re-engaging with employees involves both close observation and open ears; become absorbed in your employee’s conversation for maximum results.

Read the full interview on The New Talent Times.

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