Half of U.S. workers are not engaged in their jobs, while 17 percent are “actively disengaged,” according to a recent Gallup poll. The Gallup Organization estimates that the cost of lost productivity in the U.S. workforce due to disengagement is $500 billion a year.
In Coming Alive: The Journey to Reengage Your Life and Career, Ruth K. Ross proposes the ALIVE approach for managers to help their employees reengage: Ask, Listen, Identify, Validate, Execute.
In the first step, Ask, the manager initiates an informal conversation with individual staff members, assuring them that this is a “touch-base” conversation to see how they’re doing and isn’t related to performance. Ross suggests asking a maximum of six of the following sample questions:
1. What is your biggest accomplishment in your time here so far?
2. What is the one thing you would change about your job, team, or the company if given the chance?
3. What talents, interests, or skills do you feel are most underutilized in this role, and which would you like to see used more?
4. What opportunities for development, beyond your current role, would you like?
5. What about your job makes you excited to get up in the morning and come in to work?
6. What about your job makes you sick at the thought of coming in to work?
7. What obstacles are in the way of you doing a better job?
8. What is your dream job?
9. What could I do to enhance your job satisfaction?
10. What would cause you to leave this organization?
11. What are your short- and long-term career goals?
While managers have a great responsibility to help their teams feel committed to their work, Ross stresses that employees are equally accountable for their own on-the-job engagement.