Employee Engagement: A Growing Problem

If employee engagement increases business profitability, why, according to 2016 Gallup statistics, is employee disengagement at an all-time high? In fact, 53% of U.S. workers are not engaged at their jobs and 17% of workers are actively disengaged. Employers must take the time to invest in formal employee engagement strategies to engage and retain their employees. Gallup also reports that, without an engagement strategy in place, teams are 21% less profitable, 17% less productive, have 10% lower customer ratings and increased employee turnover.

What does an engaged employee look like?

So what’s the goal? An engaged employee is energized by their work, passionate about their work and fulfilled in their work. They are driven by a desire to achieve excellence in all their tasks and are motivated by contributing to something greater than themselves. Engaged employees are committed to their work both cognitively and emotionally, consistently going above and beyond their basic responsibilities while maintaining a sense of loyalty to their employer.

What are the negative effects of employee disengagement?

An employee that is not engaged or is actively disengaged has a negative impact on company profit, productivity and customer satisfaction and they hamper overall business success. They only do the minimum that is required of them and they lack the motivation to pursue excellence. If a “better” job comes along they will surely take it.

So what fuels employee disengagement?

Many employers operate with a one-size-fits-all strategy and are out of touch with the unique needs and values of their employees. When employers take the time to get to know their employees individually and learn what they need from their managers and work environment and then respond accordingly, employees feel valued and employee engagement increases. Studies such as the Employee Engagement Survey by Customer Insight, indicates the importance of a healthy relationship between an employee and their manager in helping maintain engaged employees. Employees who feel like a face in the crowd are much less motivated to give their best on the job.

Another factor contributing to employee disengagement is burnout. Employees are often overloaded with tasks, particularly if they’ve proven they’re dependable. They also often find themselves uninspired by their work. This combination is the perfect recipe for employee burnout. A 2017 study by Future Workplace recognizes employee burnout as the largest threat to employee engagement.

When employers recognize the benefit to discovering and addressing their employees’ unique needs and values, they observe a pattern. Although their specific core needs look differently, they fall into four basic categories: physical needs, emotional needs, mental needs and spiritual needs. Supporting needs in each of these categories yields a more engaged team.

So what can be done?

Depending on the size of your company, regularly meeting one-on-one with employees or issuing regular employee engagement surveys are two great ways to solicit feedback. While you may not find it feasible to address every single issue that is flagged, commit to addressing the ones you can by implementing thoughtful and effective measures. This might look like increasing the number of breaks your employees are allowed each day, delivering more consistent recognition for employee accomplishments, allowing your employees to determine when and where their work gets done or allowing them to dedicate a portion of their workweek to projects that truly inspire them. Keep in mind that when employees are engaged, everything runs more smoothly, and morale, productivity and profit naturally increase.

Stay tuned for our next post where we will discuss some effective ways to increase employee engagement!

 

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