We are constantly told that employee engagement is critical to a company’s overall success but it seems that many companies still struggle with providing a workplace environment to support that. A recent Gallup survey suggested that more than 80% of people are not engaged at their jobs. According to The Engagement Institute this lost productivity from disengaged employees costs the country up to $550 billion each year. Given that people in the U.S. spend more time than ever at work, (approximately 90,000 hours in one’s lifetime), it’s extremely important that employees don’t dread going to their job every day.
It first helps to know what the different levels of employee engagement can look like. Employees will generally be in one of these three categories.
Actively Engaged: These employees are productive and help advance the company’s goals. They often go above and beyond their stated job duties. They have higher retention rates because they feel connected to the company.
Neutral: These employees are not completely disengaged, but not actively engaged either. They are just putting in their time and do what is asked of them but no more than that.
Actively Disengaged: Employees who have negative feelings about their job and the company are actively disengaged. Their attitude can have a negative impact on the morale of others.
So how can you encourage disengaged and neutral employees to become more engaged with their work?
Ask Questions and Listen: A study conducted by Salesforce concluded that when employees feel they are heard, they’re 4.6 times more likely to want to perform their best work. So start by asking for their opinions and feedback. This can be a simple question such as what they think might make their jobs better. Or you can ask their opinions about an upcoming policy change. It’s important that when your employees do answer or offer opinions, you are truly listening. You may find they offer a new perspective on a company problem. Also remember, if you choose not to use their suggestion, be transparent and clearly communicate the reasons behind the decision.
Recognize and Reward: Positive recognition is another way to help improve employee engagement. If employees feel the only feedback they receive is negative, it’s no wonder they feel disengaged from their jobs. A Harvard Business Review study showed that 40% of employees would put more effort into their work if they felt recognized. Also, explaining to employees how their work relates to company goals helps them feel a sense of purpose and connection to the company.
Encourage Team Work and Comradery: Connections between co-workers matter. A survey conducted by the ADP Research Institute discovered that employees who felt they were “part of a team” were 2.3 times more likely to describe themselves as “fully engaged”. (Click here to read our blog on how to effectively use team building exercises.)
These are just three ways that you can help your employees become more engaged at work. Some of the most successful businesses are those that are able to bring out the best in each of their employees while providing them with a meaningful work experience. A workforce comprised of engaged employees combined with positive workplace culture is the not-so-secret secret to success.