Like most things in life - you'll have to head right back to the beginning.
I don't mean reminiscing about all those times you were running around jumping in puddles or kicking leaves as a child.
I mean the beginning of the relationship.
And I truly mean 'the relationship' not relationships as a collective.
You can't engage everyone as a whole.
Every single member of your team needs to be engaged independently.
In all truth I think it should be termed re-engagement because at some point they were engaged.
For some it may have only been the very first day on the job...
I digress so let's get back to what you're going to have to do:
Step 1: Think about the very first time you met the employee.
How & why did they first come into your team?
Was the new employee thrown into your team by someone else who hired them?
Did you hire them?
Did you inherit them from the previous regime?
Step 2: Now think about your first impression on them.
Yep, that's right - I haven't made a typo.
I really don't mean what you thought of them, and really do mean what they probably thought of you...
Did you smile, hold your hand out and seem genuinely interested to meet them.
Or did you look up from your ever mounting pile of paperwork, give them a quick nod of acknowledgement and then get straight back stuck into what you were doing?
If it was the later it's going to be much tougher, but don't worry all is not lost.
The relationship is salvageable.
But only if you are truly committed to putting in some hard work.
Well I say hard work but like most jobs you'll have to do in your roll as a supervisor, team leader, manager (or whatever your super important title is) the more you practice the easier it becomes.
Step 3: Make a note about what you know about them:
This can be big things like; kids, marriage, homeowner...
Or simple things like whether they prefer tea over coffee.
Anything at all.
In fact knowing some of the little things can often show the other person you're more invested in them than just knowing all the big things.
If you've hit a blank wall and can't think of anything - cheat.
Grab their CV - what did they tell you they like doing?
Or jump onto Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter... and see what their posts are about.
Step 4: Make a note of anything you have in common:
Remember, two eyes, 10 fingers and blonde hair may be commonalities but are just not going to cut the mustard.
I'm talking things like you both love base jumping, you both bake cakes (and of course eat them), you both read the same books...
You don't need a giant list just 3-5 things.
Step 5: Rebuild the relationship using the power of sound:
No, I don't mean blast them with music from your phone I mean talking & listening.
I'm sorry, but this really is the only way for any future re-engagement to be successful
They need to know who you are in order to trust you.
Ultimately, if they trust you then they'll work for you.
When I say talk to them I don't mean walk over to their desk and just start reeling off things you have in common - this is just creepy (trust me someone did this to me once and it totally freaked me out...).
If you have never had a conversation with them before you're going to just have to start with a hey, hi, or hello for a few days and wait it out until they stop looking at you like you're a nutter.
The important thing is to say hey, hi, or hello every day.
Once they feel comfortable ask them about what they're doing this weekend, talk about the weather (something all Brits love to moan about), ask them anything non-work related and run-of-the-mill.
Now you've got to listen to what they've just said and do the hardest thing in the world...
Don't talk about you.
Don't counteract their weekend in a tent with your weekend on a yacht.
Doing this makes you look like a douche.
Instead ask if they've been there before, go there often, camp frequently...
Anything which is going to show them you're interested.
Say have fun, good luck, bon voyage... whatever is appropriate and then make your excuses to go back to work.
This is important.
Resit every urge to continue the conversation and go into 'chat mode' because at some point you'll have nothing to say and then it gets awkward.
So make your excuses and leave.
Step 6: Do it again!
Sorry to be the barer of even more bad news..
You're really going to have to do the same thing the day after, and the day after that.
In all honesty, this is something you're going to have to do every single day.
Well, at least until they leave or you leave.
The next day you may just say hi again.
You may feel invigorated and ready to spark up another conversation.
Just make sure it's not about work.
You need to truly acknowledge them as a person and not just a worker.
The only way you do that is by not talking about work.
I bet you're thinking - it can't be that easy?
It really is.
Remember, this is just the beginning there's plenty more you can do but if you haven't started back at the beginning then you're going to fall flat on your face.
And let's be honest cracking your teeth on the pavement is never a good look!
If you need a little extra help then >> click here<< to grab my free employee engagement checklist.
Have a great day & I'll catch up with you soon.
Best wishes Katie.
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Katie Woodland - A developmental, and holistic psychologist who specialises in educating and empowering individuals, business leaders & school teachers to remove mental health as a barrier to success.