Ready to Engage Again?

If you or your team members are feeling disengaged at work, these small changes can make a huge impact Aree Bly

I saw a statistic recently that made me sit up and take notice: 52 percent of employees across the United States and Canada intend to search for another job in 2021.1 They are not just considering making a move—there is actual intent. Even within a reasonable margin of error, that number speaks to a huge case of disengagement in the workplace and a significant jump from 2020.

As a leader, there are steps you can take to turn this trend around. Small changes can make a huge impact when helping your team members find a renewed love for their current roles, and these same kinds of changes can help you become more engaged in your work as well.

Fighting Disengagement as a Leader

Start by creating a people-first culture. The disruption of 2020 is still taking a toll on people’s ability to operate at their best. Show your appreciation for your team members, and be transparent about the challenges at hand. A people-first culture creates a strong foundation from which to build.

Next, try leaning into your own emotional intelligence. Listen to the feedback and information being shared with you. Determine what is truly causing misalignment when someone is not performing well or is disengaged. Regularly ask your team members what else they need to grow and not just what they need to perform their current tasks.

Clarify opportunities for career growth with your team members. As a leader, part of your job is to make sure the right people are in the right roles at the right time. Ensure you are empowering your team members to find their next roles as well. Their paths are different from yours; help them see where their strengths can fit at the next level. Offer opportunities to develop their skills, so they are equipped for the bigger challenges that lie ahead.

Moving Yourself Toward Engagement

As a leader, you should be aware of your own alignment. Identify times when you feel engaged and energized, as well as times when you struggle. Look at the characteristics of each situation to determine the underlying patterns. Identify what is creating the friction in the disengagement, and look for how your skills, values and strengths play into the aligned times. These facts are guideposts for navigating your next steps.

Another engagement strategy is to plan out your days. Be intentional about how you spend your time. Reduce the amount of time in your day when you are simply reacting to the latest request. It is also important to balance your time and mental space. Look at how you spend your time today. Technology and working from home conspire to blur the lines between work and home life. Review your current balance, and create boundaries.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and break out of your routine to try something new. You may be surprised at what engages you now. As our experiences shape our skills and values, we are constantly evolving. Trying something different gives those new elements an opportunity to be noticed. Ask for new opportunities.

Whether or not you or someone on your team is among the 52 percent who intend to look for a new job this year, these are a few steps you can take at any point. Don’t give the disengagement a chance to become permanent.

Aree Bly, FSA, spent 25 years in a successful actuarial career, working at both consulting firms and health insurance companies. Today she is an alignment coach and focuses on helping others lead and succeed by identifying and then navigating through their values, strengths and skills.

Statements of fact and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Society of Actuaries or the respective authors’ employers.

Copyright © 2021 by the Society of Actuaries, Chicago, Illinois.