Employees can make or break your business. The fact that they are the bloodline of any business amplifies this power further. Ignoring their needs and preferences is akin to destroying what you’ve worked so hard to achieve. However, with that said, inspiring and engaging employees is not a walk in the park. Afterall, they’re humans, and their demands and preferences change like the time of day.
This all boils down to relationships and communication between managers and employees. If there’s a lack of motivation and communication, engagement levels plummet which directly means that your business suffers in turn.
An aligned and engaged team is a dream for any company. But how do you make it happen? How do you know if your company is suffering from disengagement?
This article is a discourse of the main problems generated by low employee engagement. Check to see if your company is going through any of the following challenges. It might be a sign of employee disengagement.
When disengaged, employees will stop going above and beyond expectations and will simply put a minimal amount of effort into the work they do. They will be slow to complete projects and will very rarely put themselves forward for extra work.
Your company can’t move forward without a productive workforce. Managers often use productivity as a benchmark when evaluating employees’ individual significance to the company. But they learn the hard way that productivity suffers if there’s no effective employee engagement strategy in place. Keeping employees on task is hard when they’re not engaged in their work.
For disengaged employees, work ends up becoming an obligation, time does not pass and procrastination becomes the reality. Time management is impaired, tasks accumulate, and performance is far below the rates expected by the company.
Without a decent probe into the matter, most employers may perceive this as typical laziness. However, it might not be, as a disengaging work environment can turn even the brightest and most diligent employee into an apathetic layabout.
High Turnover Rate
Turnover is the aggregate of worker replacements in a given period at a given workplace. According to Catalyst, the total global quit rates for all industries was 27.9%, If you’re an HR manager, you might look at that number and compare it to your company’s rate and make a simple calculation: if your number is lower, you’re doing great, but if it’s higher, you need to find out where you miscued.
Workers are supposed to feel at home around each other and their employers. Even your longest-standing employees won’t stay there for very long if they aren’t happy. The lack of employee engagement makes them feel less and less as a part of the organization. The low amenity yield generates discontent with the results. After that, comes the regular exchange of employees, which causes a high turnover rate.
A high turnover rate is expensive. Think about the time, money, and energy that goes into onboarding new employees. If people end up leaving after they’re hired, it’s a lot of work with no payoff. Usually, these problems stem from a lack of engagement. People who don’t feel connected to their work have little reason to stick around. If offered a position elsewhere, they’ll bolt out without second-guessing.
Recent data from Work Institute’s Retention Report 2020 estimates that it costs as much as 33% of a worker’s annual salary to replace them, a total of $630 billion annually. If employees churn within the first year, a company can face annual losses of over £11,200 per employee. Take into consideration that disengaged employees are four times more likely to churn, and these costs skyrocket.
Disengagement Costs You Money
As a mentor and leader in your company, you don’t want your employees to feel unhappy or disconnected. Issues related to employee disengagement extend much further than just how they feel, though.
Disengagement not only looks bad, but it also costs you money. A disengaged workforce incurs immense financial costs to a business. According to Forbes, the average annual salary in the United States is about $47,000. A single disengaged employee at this average salary level is going to cost you almost $16,000 per year.
This amount is divided into three metrics namely:
- Absenteeism costs
- Recruitment Costs
- Training Costs
Needless to say, financial losses have drastic effects on a company’s bottom line. The losses incurred are much higher than the cost of creating an engaging environment at work.
Poor Quality Of Products And Services
Along with providing great customer service, pushing out benchmark products and services is a top priority. This is the most direct route towards building an audience. Great products and services come from great employees, which is why you should hire the right people in the first place.
Engaged employees will put their hearts and soul into the work they do. Disengaged employees will not. You will see that the quality of disengaged employees’ products decreases considerably. They will stop checking their work and will put less effort into it in the first place.
Depending on the department in which the disengaged employee is in, it can cause errors in an entire production chain. That is why a gamified working experience is best suited to increase engagement at work. Departments and individuals get to compete based on product quality and service provision.
But, even the most dedicated and dependable employees will fail to produce when suffering from employee disengagement. If people aren’t engaged, you’ll have nothing worthwhile to offer to customers and clients. If you notice a decline in the quality of products and services, it is only wise to check the engagement levels before the situation aggravates.
Toxic Work Environment
You should never ignore disengaged employees. It may only be a couple of people at first, but disengagement is eminently contagious. It will spread throughout the company. Bad attitudes rub off on people, and things get worse if you don’t address the issue immediately.
Coexistence among people in the organization becomes toxic and unsustainable. Conflicts become routine in day-to-day work and, finally, they may even begin to harm each other’s work. This opens up a Pandora’s box that ultimately leads to low productivity and a whole lot of other issues in the workplace.
Absenteeism is the most noticeable challenge you might face when your employees are just going through the motions. Employees who are disengaged will constantly call in sick. Occasional absenteeism may not be necessarily a bad sign, but once patterns start forming, it’s time to take action and apply some new employee engagement ideas.
For instance, M&S, a leading British multinational retailer conducted an annual employee engagement survey that revealed that absence levels in their stores that sit in the top quartile of engagement scores were 25% lower than those in the bottom quartile. That just proves the connection.
You may see lots of, “unplanned absences”, from employees who simply just don’t want to come in. When employees don’t show up to work on a regular basis, it’s time to dig out the bones.
Lack of innovation
As stated earlier, the lack of employee engagement affects productivity, decreases communication, increases turnover, creates an unhealthy working environment, and lowers quality of work.
This means that people and the company do not endeavour to innovate in various fields, be it technology, processes or solutions. Stagnation becomes routine and everyone ends up stuck in time, while other companies take advantage of the moment to gain a competitive edge in the market.
With new ideas, comes an increase in the quality of products, improved customer service, and increased sales. However, all these benefits come with a small price, engagement. An alluring workplace is more likely to be a hub of innovation.
You may think you have the best of employees, but everyone is capable of improvement. When staff members get better at what they do, the entire organization benefits. Learning new skills requires motivation and employee motivation comes from high engagement levels. This is just one more reason to focus on improving employee engagement in the workplace.
Engagement is built day after day, with positive attitudes, and with a collective effort. There are plenty of reasons why you can’t afford to lose employee engagement. The above examples just scratch the surface. Many of these can spell disaster for your organization, and their repercussions can be long-lasting.
You owe it to yourself to have engaged, happy, and ready-to-perform employees. This is where engagement platforms like Aspirly come in handy. The gamification of the working environment provides a big boost in engaging employees. There will always be factors you can’t control, but focusing on those you can control will make a difference. Be there for your employees and create an engaging work environment for them to thrive within. Reach out to us now and let’s take things to the next level.
Today more than ever, organizations rely on the energy, commitment and engagement of their workforce in order to survive and thrive in this era of unmatched competition in every field.
Low employee engagement remains a persistent problem for organizations of all sizes around the world. In 2020, a global Gallup study found that just about 20% of workers in full-time employment are ‘engaged’ at work. “Engaged” essentially means being highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace.
With low engagement in the workforce, it is very difficult to create a culture of trust and accountability. Organizational goals are harder to achieve if employees are not comfortable working together or with their employees.
However, you need not worry, just as there is a solution for most problems, there are also effective ways to increase employee engagement. Here are some strategies that organizations can deploy to better engage employees with their work and with their colleagues.
2. Emphasize Your Mission
Every workplace needs to have a sense of direction, a purpose, and something to work towards. Without this, employees would be everywhere, and with no particular roles to play in building the organization.
Employees are likely to be more engaged when there’s a goal they can get behind in and a purpose to steer them through the ups and downs of work. Introducing core values and a mission statement is a perfect foundation for company culture. If you have a company culture, it plays a huge role in how engaged your employees are. An employer can start by creating a pithy list of company core values, then train each employee in these values.
Doing so will guarantee that employees understand the importance of the company’s values, how they positively impact the business and what is expected of each individual. Leaders should lead by example and hold every member of their team accountable. Failing to do so will foster a bad company culture of distrust, and without a sense of direction, employees become more disengaged.
Engaged employees are doing meaningful work and have a clear understanding of how they contribute to the company’s mission, purpose and strategic objectives. Again, this is why they first have to be placed in the right role. Many employers make the mistake of hiring great talent just to get them in the door without having a clear career path or role for them.
2. Communicate Consciously And Regularly
As organizations grow, the ties binding co-workers can loosen and weaken and, before employers realize it, departments are working in isolation and their staff become disconnected from their colleagues at work. Unless there is a dedicated internal communications team, it’s likely to become the Human Resource Manager’s responsibility – potentially with assistance from the marketing team – to take charge of company communications.
It is crucial to start communicating news more frequently and intentionally wherever employees are spending their time – be that digitally or physically. Simple steps such as making use of intranet, HR systems, or even putting up posters in shared spaces will prove advantageous. This will help keep all employees, regardless of the department they are in, informed of what’s going on, whether that’s a change to HR policies, any good news about a client, or even recognizing that it’s someone’s birthday.
Distance should never be a reason to be plagued by employee disengagement. Managers who work remotely or who manage remote teams will have to be even more intentional about their communication strategies.
However, a recent Forbes study on the effects of remote work found that most employees show signs of burnout when having virtual meetings every day. In the study, 38% of remote employees reported feeling exhausted after daily virtual meetings. Considering that the study was conducted in 2020 when most organizations switched to remote work, it emphasizes the need for managers to get their remote communication plans and strategies right lest they fail.
3. Prioritize Feedback
As an employer, sometimes it serves best to just sit, listen, and give feedback. Optimal amounts of feedback correlate with positive manager reviews. Even managers who give their direct reports too much feedback are rated higher by their team than those who don’t provide enough. The gist? Employees crave feedback, and it influences their level of engagement.
Employers can start by scheduling check-ins for each employee with their manager, then encourage middle management. It is important to establish regular review sessions with every team as an ongoing initiative to considerably improve employee engagement.
While it may be tempting to implement a company-wide schedule for feedback, employers need to keep in mind that every team is different and frequent touchpoints may feel unnatural to some while to some, they can be enlightening. Managers should talk to their direct reports about their preferred methods for receiving feedback in order to engage employees in a way that’s meaningful to them.
4. Investing In Employees’ Wellbeing
Engage For Success (E4S) has been at the forefront of UK research into employee engagement and has argued that engagement and wellbeing are intertwined. Speaking to HR magazine in 2014, taskforce member Wendy Cartwright said: “where there is high engagement but low wellbeing, there is a risk of burnout over time, and where there is high wellbeing but low engagement, employees may be feeling generally satisfied and well but are unconnected to the organizational purpose and goal”
Taking steps to create a healthy workplace – by introducing an employee assistance programme, training mental health first aiders, and promoting healthy eating and exercise – can all help to improve staff wellbeing, increasing the rate of engagement the bigger picture.
It is invaluable to take a look at the organization’s culture and the behavioural expectations it has on an employee. For example, some workplaces have a ‘long hours’ culture with people often staying late, either to cope with high workloads or in a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to demonstrate their commitment to the course? Do people come into work when they’re ill and should be resting at home?
Researching the causes of mental and physical ill-health in your organization should be a priority. Then create and implement the appropriate interventions to tackle the issues you’ve uncovered.
5. Recognize Good Work
Does your organization regularly, publicly and willingly recognize and reward its employees? Even if a few of your leaders and managers often thank their staff for their efforts, there’s always more to be done.
Engaged employees will go out of their way to go the extra mile and get work done with sheer accuracy. However, today’s workforce wants to know that the leadership notices and appreciates their efforts. Employers should also go the extra mile and take time to acknowledge their employees and their good work. They should also be allowed to do the same to their peers.
Putting in place digital channels through which staff can thank each other for going the extra mile or introducing an incentive-based scheme or awards programme are great ways of cultivating a culture of public recognition and appreciation.
Aspirly is one such platform that employers should look to deploy in the workplace. Aspirly gamifies the working experience, and of course, most, if not all, games played come with rewards for the victors. And workers feel more engaged when their performance in such activities are rewarded.
Since feedback is a top priority among employees, managers should be encouraged to make positive recognition part of their day-to-day work-life. Managers should look to utilize communications channels and consider engaging HR departments to implement incentive programs.
6. Empower Employees
It’s understandable that some leaders resort to micromanagement in times of crisis, or where team members are incompetent or unable to respond to pressing deadlines.
Workers’ enthusiasm and creativity are usually worn down by constant correction and negative feedback. Workflows get stifled by managers that are acting as roadblocks to action. And, ultimately, employee retention and recruitment will suffer.
The alternative is to empower, support and trust your workforce to produce results autonomously and refer back to you if they need more guidance. Employees may not always feel free to come forward and speak out if the leadership insists on micromanagement.
Also, making sure employees have enough challenges and variation in their workday is one of the most important managerial tasks. If their ability to develop themselves and learn even from mistakes is curtailed, employees lose motivation and start to look for engagement elsewhere.
Employees should always be empowered with the chance to bolster their skill set, learn from their peers and undergo structured training programs. Regardless of how an organization structures its training programs, they can be sure that the more empowered the employees feel to develop new skills, the more likely it will be that their employees will remain consistently engaged in their daily work.
Employees are the engine that powers up a workplace, so improving employee engagement is a fundamental step to business success. When you create a positive work environment where people can grow daily and receive recognition for their efforts, nothing will stand in your way to achieving your goals.
Hopefully, these tips inspire you to focus more on engaging your workforce because that means improving your entire organization’s performance. Start implementing the strategies for engaging your employees today, and you’ll boost your organization’s profitability before you know it.