If your company is experiencing low levels of engagement, address these issues
Employee engagement, which can be defined as employees who are involved, and enthusiastic about, their work and workplace, is an ongoing HR focus and concern. In our previous articles, we have covered the benefits of engaged employees and how employee engagement impacts performance and productivity. In this article, we will look at what might be preventing you from having an actively engaged workforce and what you can do about it.
There is certainly no clear-cut formula for employee engagement. Despite their best efforts, some companies are still seeing critically low levels of engagement. If this is the case for you, read the following points to determine whether your company and its performance management system are the reasons behind your employees’ lack of engagement.
1. Interaction with management is minimal
The influence and impact of a good manager on employee engagement is something that should never be underestimated. This is something we’re particularly passionate about at Clear Review, which is why we are strong advocates of a continuous performance management approach, a system which involves ongoing performance conversations. It has been shown that managers account for a 70% variance in employee engagement and, in order to positively impact engagement, managers must have frequent and quality conversations with their employees.
This interaction will help employees build strong relationships with their managers, which will facilitate discussion regarding strengths and performance concerns. It will also ease the delivery of effective feedback, which is necessary for optimal performance. Managers simply can’t be intimidating, distant authoritarians. They need to begin to take on more of a coaching role to ensure employees are engaged and enthusiastic at all times.
2. Employees have no scope for progression
As stated in Forbes, “Employees will always perform at their best when the environment is conducive to growth.” If you want motivated, dedicated employees, you will need to offer clear routes for personal and career advancement. This will demonstrate to the employee that you are invested in them and their career. If there are skills the employee wishes to improve upon, have conversations on how the company can make this happen. If there are avenues the employee can pursue to advance within the company, make sure they are aware of them.
If you neglect progression in any way, the employee will be left feeling they’re stuck in a dead-end career and they will become demotivated. This will likely result in either an employee who isn’t contributing as much as they have the potential to, or in an employee who will jump ship to explore opportunities elsewhere.
3. Employees don’t know what they’re doing
At the very least, for employees to be engaged they need to know and understand their goals. How can they be productive and passionate about their roles when they don’t know what is expected of them? To counteract this, SMART objectives need to be a focal point of your performance management process. This collaborative goal-setting process should put your employee in the driving seat. Discuss their strengths, skills, and passions and allow them to write their own objectives. This will result in an employee who feels an ownership over the direction of their career, and they will be more passionate about delivering on objectives they have set themselves.
4. Employees don’t see how their role matters
It has become widely recognised that transparent leadership is the key to developing a culture of trust and respect between managers and employees.Transparency allows for employee alignment, which is critical in terms of engagement. In order for an employee to understand how and why their efforts are relevant to the organisation as a whole, managers should take the time to provide context and discuss organisational goals. This way, an employee feels they are valued and respected, and they are also better able to design their SMART objectives to align with company goals.
5. You’re not saying thank you
Recognition is important to employees, and it is increasingly clear that it is a huge driver for employee engagement. Even the most engaged employee can become demotivated and frustrated if their efforts go unacknowledged. If employee recognition isn’t something your company prioritises, this is something that needs to change. It has been shown that when an employee recognition programme is put in place, employee turnover can be reduced by as much as 24%, staff frustration levels are 28% lower, and engagement can increase by an incredible 60%.
Recognition doesn’t need to come at a high cost. A simple thank-you can go a long way, and “employee of the month” programmes are a simple way of giving a shout-out to a high performing employee. If your team has exceeded expectations or put in a lot of effort, you could provide a free lunch as a celebration. Get creative and put effort into introducing and maintaining a culture of appreciation and encouragement.