Workers on government teams face a constant barrage of criticisms, and it cannot help but affect their morale.
For example, a 2016 Gallup report shared that only 29% of full-time state and local government employees are engaged at work. 71% ARE NOT! Yet, do you find this statistic actually surprising for the public sector? Probably not. It’s a cliche in many cultures.
With regular changes in administration, government managers have a can have a harder than usual job. Multiple departments have to deal with newly elected officials taking over the reins, and this means:
- new management teams
- potential, or likely, staff turnover
- government reorganizations
- different processes to learn and follow.
And, amidst all this change, it’s hardly surprising engagement can get lost. Without it, government teams will struggle with employee retention, customer service, productivity and more.
Three simple ways to help your team members feel valued and build healthy and engaged teams:
1. Reward Your Government Staff
Well, this sounds easy at first glance, but rewarding employees in the government sector is not. Government agencies cannot provide performance incentives, stock options, or club memberships.
Therefore, if they want to reward staff members for accomplishments and professional achievements, they have limited ways. There are options such as Team building activities that are a fantastic way to reward the team for a well done job while improving morale.
Also, for individual recognition, The University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics made a “Thanks for Caring Recognition Toolkit“; it lists numerous ways that managers can thank employees without spending a cent.
2. Set Aside Time to Build Relationships
To build engagement within government teams, it is important to set time aside to build relationships and professional trust. Just like any other team. One of the best ways to do this is:
Take your team out for breakfasts, lunches, dinners or coffee chats.
In fact humans have been bonding over shared meals since the Upper Paleolithic era, where Homo sapiens first emerged. It goes beyond nourishing, it provides an opportunity to:
- reinforce fundamental values
- and learning about your team.
Indeed, whether done as a group activity or one-on-one, it’s the perfect excuse to get out the office and:
Discover what makes your team tick.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Lack of communication is one of the biggest problems in the public sector. If you are a manager, stop your employees from feeling like a pawn in a politician’s scheme, and make your messaging clear.
For instance: Try walking around the office more, keep an open door policy, and try various communication methods to ensure your message is reaching the right people, and that no one feels blindsided by new policies.
Even if you need to tell team members, “I can’t share some things, and I acknowledge that can be uncomfortable,” you will create a more open and honest atmosphere.
So, if you are concerned about the engagement in your government teams, try these three suggestions.
While culture and engagement take time to grow, it is important to remember improving performance is a marathon, not a sprint, and you will reap the benefits of a strong team that is aligned by a common goal in the long run.
To discover solutions for your government team, contact us today!