Are you struggling to keep your employees engaged? Are you aware of the factors that impact engagement in the workplace? Often, we assume that if employees like their jobs, they will be fully engaged at work, but in reality, healthy workplace engagement extends beyond job satisfaction. Engaged employees not only enjoy their jobs, but are also motivated to work toward a common goal aligned with their company’s vision. It’s a big-picture formula that involves both the organization and management.
In my role as an advisor, I am often asked to assist clients with recruitment of new employees. I often ask applicants why they are considering leaving their current employer. The overwhelming response is that, for varying reasons, they don’t feel invested in their current organization. As a result, they’ve chosen to look for new opportunities to find meaning in their careers. In my experience, working with both job-seekers and employers, I have learned that disengagement in the workplace can be largely remedied through better communication and more involvement from managers, beginning at the start of the onboarding process for new hires.
I encourage you to consider your organization’s onboarding process and whether employees are training under adequate supervision, or if gaps in communication should be closed and additional touchpoints are needed. Employers often assume that new employees who have previously worked in similar roles will not need training or supervision. This typically results in new hires finding themselves in a sink or swim situation and ultimately disrupting other employees in an effort to seek answers to their questions. This is dangerous because it is the first step toward disengagement.
In a healthy situation, engaged employees feel valued by their managers and believe they play an integral role in the success of the organization. Engaged employees also feel they are given consistent feedback and are treated fairly. They are more productive than disengaged employees, often as much as 40 percent. Why is productivity so important to company success? According to the American Medical Association, companies lose $150 billion a year in productivity due to “presenteeism” (coming to work despite illness or injury, often resulting in reduced productivity). Exploring small initiatives to foster a healthy workplace environment focused on showing team members they are valued can drastically improve employee engagement.
Here are tips to improve employee engagement:
If you want to effectively measure employee engagement, annual employee surveys have been the standard since the 1930s. While other means exist, such as exit interviews or workplace assessments, annual surveys are still the most popular method for measuring satisfaction and identifying areas for improvement. When embarking on this process, find an experienced surveyor to partner with and develop questions with benchmarks to which you can compare your raw data. It may take several months to analyze and formulate a response to the findings. The goal is for the data you receive to be actionable.
Employers often struggle with finding the most effective ways to improve employee engagement. I encourage you to take an unbiased look at your organization and try to recognize changes that will allow your employees to fully invest in their commitment to your vision and feel motivated toward increased productivity. Often, the solutions needed are not very complicated. Experiment with your workplace culture and uncover what works for your organization. It could be as simple as encouraging employees to decorate their workstations or reimbursing them for taking a course. Have fun with the process of getting to know your team. And by all means, don’t forget to ask for feedback.
Perian Cabral, CMPE, PHR-SHRM is a healthcare advisor with Kassouf &Co.
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