What are you doing wrong with your attempts to engage employees?
Employee engagement worldwide is at staggeringly dismal levels. Research firm Gallup reports 87 percent of workers around the globe are not engaged at work. If your employees fall in this camp, they're affecting your bottom line, as companies whose employees are highly engaged beat out competitors by 147 percent in earnings per share.
If you're doing any of the following things at your business, you're probably decreasing employee satisfaction at your workplace, and causing a hit to your productivity and sales. Avoid these three mistakes that hurt employee engagement.
1. You Don't Foster a Human Connection
Feelings of loneliness at work have a detrimental affect on productivity. A study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and California Sacramento University found that employee loneliness negatively affects productivity, teamwork and commitment from employees. Research reported by Forbes shows the more people are connected to technology, the less likely they are to have more deep social connections and the more likely they are to feel lonely or depressed. Even when your teams work together in the same office, if they're only working on their computers and you're not encouraging human-to-human connections, loneliness can spread like wildfire.
Besides hosting team-building and off-site events that give employees the opportunity to get to know each other beyond a strictly work-focused atmosphere, an easy way to celebrate the humans who work for your company is through recognition. Recognition is important between managers and those they supervise, and it's also beneficial when it's made public for other team members to see. A 2017 survey by OfficeTeam found 66 percent of workers would leave a job if they didn't feel appreciated, up from 51 percent in 2012. Make recognition more meaningful by saying thanks in person, and attaching genuine, heartfelt words to the message.
2. You Don't Optimize Internal Processes
Not perfecting your business operations internally can be extremely frustrating to employees. According to Business News Daily, email overload and pointless meetings are two of the top pain points employees cite at work. Two-thirds of employees say that more than 20 percent of the emails they receive are not relevant to them. Three-quarters of employees admit to "multi-tasking" during meetings, because the employee is overloaded, or they don't feel like the meeting is worth paying attention to, or a whole host of other reasons.
By shaping your business technology, role expectations and collaboration methods to draw out employee strengths, you'll have a direct positive impact on employee engagement. Gallup reports strength-based development implemented by managers can increase employee engagement by 23 percent. From the hiring process forward, your company should strive to get to know employees' preferred working styles — even something as simple as having a more introverted personality can cause severe aversion to meetings. Technology development and choosing systems to work with should focus on efficiency. Roles should be clearly defined so that employees know what they're responsible for and spend their time wisely focused on related tasks.
3. You Don't Promote the Company Mission
Besides refining internal processes to empower employee strengths, Gallup found across all age levels of professionals, the other most prominent way to retain employees is to emphasize mission and purpose. Aligning employees with the company mission improves strategy across all departments when it's a driving force. Promoting the mission helps improve customer engagement because employees are better able to communicate the brand to customers, and it brings clarity to internal processes. Reinforcing the mission at company-wide gatherings and recognizing employees who exemplify it can improve the human connection at your workplace.
Another way to remind employees of the company mission is by integrating it into relevant content sharing and internal communication. By using a company news application like Smarp, your business can easily share valuable examples of the mission in action, whether it's via an article highlighting the success of a like-minded company or a blog that covers a recent business success story from your organization. Employees will be able to see the value of your company in a tangible way and will feel motivated to play a bigger role in your mission themselves.
Improve Engagement Through Your Own Research
While employee engagement is a universal challenge, your business is nuanced and faces its own unique needs to improve engagement. Use internal surveys to ask employees what would help to improve their engagement levels. Train managers on how to effectively communicate with their teams and glean powerful in-person feedback from staff. Regularly ask for ideas on how to improve internal processes and the technology tools your business uses.
As you begin to implement what employees want into your company operations, they'll see that you value their feedback and want to keep them happy at work. By simply listening and acting on feedback, employee engagement will naturally increase as work relationships grow in respect.