Tips to Fix Employee — and Voter — Apathy

After years of gearing up for Election Day — countless speeches, debates and promises — many voters are tired of it all and have become indifferent to the election process.

This apathy affecting voters is actually not that dissimilar to that affecting employees in the workplace. Here are some of the most common issues that crop up along with tips on how to fix them. It’s imperative that employers and politicians alike don’t just stand on the sidelines and expect engagement to increase — they need to take a proactive stance.

Overcome detachment. Many voters believe there’s nothing they can do to help change the country with their one vote. This is the same problem that corporate America suffers from — many employees don’t believe they can fix the problems in a large company. Therefore, they feel disenfranchised and become detached. Employers should take every opportunity to let employees know how much they’re valued and how their opinions count. They need to walk the talk.

Manage change fatigue. Many voters are tired of the promises to change and improve the country. Each candidate promises to change Washington, improve the economy and put everyone back to work. Many voters don’t know who to trust because candidates often fail to specify how those changes will come about. Even well-read voters are confused and indifferent to the competing messages. Similarly, employees can feel lost in terms of whom to trust within the organization. Leadership trust has eroded since the start of the recession, and it’s important to establish or re-establish trust between leaders and employees.

Increase engagement. Voters can’t tell who or what will be decided by the election solely by watching the nightly news or reading articles. They need to do their own research to find the facts that matter to them most. The national election process is long and arduous, and it requires voters to do their homework and be actively engaged through the process — not an easy feat. Similarly, as companies strive to do more with less and employers demand more of their existing employees, engagement levels dwindle. It’s important that engagement start at the top. For instance, if workers see that their leaders are engaged, enthused and invested in the success of the organization, they will be more inclined to put forth their best effort.

Take action. Individuals running for office need to demonstrate how their views can make a difference by delivering verifiable facts that relate directly to their promises. Similarly, employers should stay away from making empty promises to employees that they can’t keep or speaking in vague generalities. Instead, they should show employees how they can make a difference to the organization.

Allan Steinmetz is the CEO and founder of Inward Strategic Consulting, an employee brand engagement consulting firm. He can be reached at editor@talentmgt.com.