The most recent statistics have arrived concerning employee engagement, and things are not looking good at all. According to the 2019 ADP Research Institute’s Global Study of Engagement, which interviewed 19,346 full-time and part-time employees across 19 countries, 84 percent of workers are simply “coming to work” and report not fully contributing to their organizations. As compared to various survey results from last year, employee engagement appears to be on the decline. That trend should worry HR departments and employers across the country when they hear it as employee engagement is directly tied to productivity. So if we're losing the employee engagement game, what does that mean for the speed and quality of how businesses are run? And worse, once engagement starts going in the wrong direction, how can your course correct to turn things around?
What’s going on with low employee engagement?
Jen Colletta, Managing Editor for HR Executive shares that one of the biggest challenges for HR is, “understanding when employees are starting to disengage, and, harder still, catching them before they do.”
There are a lot of theories as to what is causing lower levels of employee engagement. As a whole, it comes down to what employees expect from a career experience today vs. a decade ago. Jobs are viewed as more than just a paycheck by the newest generation of employees. A job is an opportunity to build important skills, have a positive experience, and grow a career that one can be happy with. Employees want to be challenged at work so that they feel like they’ve accomplished something at the end of each day. Unfortunately, too many companies are failing to meet these expectations and when they don't, employees begin to shut down.
Why should you be concerned about employee engagement?
Employee engagement is good for business in many ways. According to Meghan M. Biro, CEO of TalentCulture, who contributes to the Huffington Post, companies with high levels of employee engagement benefit from increased revenues, employee retention, greater productivity, and more. Biro advises, “Employees who are engaged are more likely to remain committed to their company, even during difficult times or busy periods.” That's because people are loyal to companies that make them happy and support them as they grow their careers. Think about working for a company where you're just a number vs working at one where your boss cares about and appreciates you. Which company are you more likely to stay at? It's not a hard choice to make.
And the benefits aren't just for your workers. Engaged employees create a more resilient workforce that can weather bigger challenges. Companies with high employee engagement levels also report fewer safety incidents, less absenteeism, and lower turnover. With so much on the line, isn't it time to reinvest in engagement?
Hacks to boost employee engagement levels
Ready to raise your employee engagement levels up above the competition? Use these tactics to get started.
1) Create a fully transparent culture
Insights for Professionals advise that every company should take a transparent stance when it comes to information sharing. Doing so helps employees feel like they are part of the bigger picture, not just some “cog in the wheel”.
2) Recognize and reward
As often as possible, management can take the time to recognize employees for their achievements, even if it’s something small like helping a coworker out or giving a customer excellent service. Employees who feel appreciated and recognized in front of their peers are happier which increases their engagement.
3) Support your mid-level managers
In many organizations, mid-level managers get lost in the day to day aspects of running their teams and staying productive. But they rarely feel appreciated and may not get much in terms of training support. Take time to support managers at all levels with professional development and praise so that they keep a good attitude about things and remain engaged in their work too. This can impact others.
4) Cross-train employees
Give all employees an opportunity to learn what their colleagues do with cross-training and job shadowing. This increases their understanding of not only what other departments are working on, but their own critical place in the chain of tasks that need to be accomplished. This experience puts things into perspective and can also increase their dedication level.
5) Treat employees like the adults they are
Your employees are grown-ups, but unfortunately, they may be treated like children at work. Turn the tables and try to envision a workplace where every employee is treated and respected for the skilled adult they are. Trust employees to do their jobs and to come up with new ideas. Demonstrate this trust through inclusion efforts. David Godden, VP of Sales for Thymometrics’, says, “Your approach is to be more humble, listen more, and be open to ideas that employees have.”
6) Encourage creativity
All workplaces have the capacity to add some level of creativity. Give employees the creative freedom to solve problems, innovate, and come up with better ways of doing things. Allow them to share their ideas and be taken seriously. Make the work environment more creative too, with work areas that promote creative activities and social gatherings.
Employee engagement matters
These hacks are just the start of a brand new way of managing employee engagement in your business. And remember, any large scale initiative requires buy-in from the top so make sure senior leaders are also on board with your efforts. And keep in mind, there are many simple ways to help your employees feel more appreciated and your tactics don't have to be revolutionary. Taking even small steps towards improvement will help strengthen your company culture and make a positive impact on both an employee's work life and well-being.