Employee engagement can be thought of as the percentage of talent that an individual brings to work every day and that he or she is willing to share with their employer for the benefit of the organization, defined David Wexler in a recent 17th Floor Expert Panel.
Employee engagement is paramount to work performance, workforce retention and, eventually, the company's growth. For this reason, managers should not disregard such an essential component. A designed strategic plan to address low employee engagement will do more than just motivate workers. It will benefit all company's aspects and set the organization's culture and values.
"There's a popular saying that people leave managers, not companies — and research backs this saying up. Up to 57% of staff have quit their job because of their manager, while 32% have seriously thought about leaving because of a manager," according to Nathan Ojaokomo.
So, what can you do to fix low employee engagement? According to Nectar HR, these are the best practices to implement:
1. Gather And Act On Employee Feedback
Don't wait until the "exit interview" to ask an employee for feedback, or read what they really think about your company in Glassdoor. Make sure to have open lines of communication, quarterly check-ins, or a company's form or email where they can share a problem in writing. Many people don't feel comfortable addressing an issue face to face or with a manager (even more if the manager is the problem), so having multiple ways for them to reach out will make things easier.
As David Wexler, an Employee Engagement expert, recently shared with The 17th Floor, not all communication is verbal. Managers should pay attention to other clues like absenteeism, changes in the employee's behaviour, or interactions with other coworkers.
2. Recognize and Appreciate Frequently
Building company loyalty begins with treating workers as people instead of cogs in a machine. In addition, several surveys have shown that employees will stay longer and be more productive if they are recognized and appreciated.
You can start doing this by making every recognition reward personal and offering timely, immediate recognition. Learn more ways to recognize employees and drive motivation with this article by The 17th Floor.
Offering incentives and perks is also a good idea when it comes to recognizing and appreciating employee performance. Check 12 creative and affordable ideas to reward employees and increase their engagement.
3. Create a Positive, Safe Work Environment
One of the reasons employees leave is a toxic work environment. Therefore, creating a positive, safe work environment of mutual respect and trust can help instill engagement. Workers find it difficult to do their best work when stressed or uncomfortable. Therefore, invest in creating a comfortable space for them. This might include investing in ergonomic chairs and desks and open workspaces.
While making the workspace more comfortable and enjoyable, the human aspect should not be disregarded. Having a workplace wellness plan that suits your company’s culture and needs will help ensure a positive and safe work environment. You can get great ideas for implementing workplace wellness here.
4. Be a Loyal Manager
Loyalty is a two-way street. You cannot expect loyalty from your employees if you're not being loyal to them in the first place. Here are some ways to show you're dedicated to them:
- Promote your employees
- Hire their recommendations
- Delegate to grow and avoid micromanaging
- Provide the tools they need to do their job the best they can
- Give genuine and constructive feedback
- Accept their ideas and feedback
5. Resolve Disputes
Despite the best workplace culture, employees will still clash and have problems with each other. How you deal with these disputes will either foster loyalty or make employees unhappy. Therefore, put a dispute resolution process in place to help staff know how to handle disputes.
You might also need to get rid of managers and employees who make the workplace miserable for others. Terminating their employment or transferring them wouldn't be inappropriate if you notice no changes after reprimanding them. If you need help and ideas to manage these difficult situations, you can consult Workma's 7-step plan for resolving conflict in the workplace.
6. Invest in Their Development
Another way to increase low employee engagement is by investing in their development. You want your employees to be the best at what they do, so you need to give them the tools and resources they need. There are several ways to do this. Some of them are:
- Send them to an industry or professional event
- Assign a coach for those who don't have a clear career path in mind
- Share specific, self-paced learning resources
- Offer professional qualification options
7. Offer a Flexible Work Schedule
Thanks to the global pandemic, the number of people working from home skyrocketed. This has changed what it means to have a flexible work schedule. It not only means the ability to decide where to work from but now includes when to work.
If you want to foster employee engagement and motivation, then you need to keep this change in mind. New research reveals that 1 in 3 employees will quit if they can't work from home anymore. Watch this video to see how offering a flexible work schedule can help you attract, retain and engage your employees.
How would you fix low employee engagement? Tell us in the comments what other strategy you would implement to face this issue.
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