The verdict is in, and it’s not good: Employee disengagement is a global epidemic.
That’s the conclusion of experts at Gallup, who have studied issues of employee engagement around the world, mapping out trends over many years. To say those trends aren’t good is an understatement: 85% of job-holders worldwide are either unengaged or actively disengaged at work.
This is a crisis. But it’s also an opportunity.
While there’s no way of knowing what percentage of employees are disengaged in an area or industry, imagine for a moment this possibility: 85% of employees working for your rivals aren’t fully engaged. To excel, you just need to make sure your teams are more motivated at work. Easy, right?
Maybe it’s not that simple. But consider what engagement means to your workforce:
- More people are more productive – hitting their targets and reaching for stretch goals.
- Fewer people call out or “phone it in,” and overall employee turnover goes way down.
- Teams create a momentum of success that allows them to see the company as a winner.
- On a daily basis, employees are less likely to make mistakes and more likely to excel.
What’s more, employee engagement is cost effective. Not only can it cause productivity to skyrocket, it can do so at virtually no cost. You don’t need fancy new equipment, new facilities, or pricey research to make employee engagement happen.
It all comes down to how you treat your people.
With that in mind, companies willing to focus on employee engagement can achieve results in record time. A few key initiatives, applied consistently, can have an outsized impact on how employees treat their work, their leaders, their customers, and each other.
Let’s look at some of the best ideas for increasing employee engagement.
1. Embrace Boosting Engagement as a Strategic Focus.
The first step to engagement success is to make a priority.
If engagement is an afterthought for you, it will be for your employees as well. Consider how engagement can appear in your values, your mission statement, and yes – your org chart. Make concrete changes and stick to them.
2. Stay Informed with Employee Engagement Surveys.
It takes courage for employees to speak up and voice their opinions, especially if it hasn’t been part of workplace culture in the past. Smooth the path with employee engagement surveys. This gives them an open invitation to draw your attention to opportunities for improvement.
3. Act on Engagement Surveys in Meaningful, Visible Ways.
If you ask for someone’s opinion, don’t be surprised when they tell you! Unless action follows a survey, employees will be discouraged from investing time in future initiatives. If it’ll take time for changes to produce results, at least inform employees about them through email.
4. Educate Managers on Engagement Initiatives.
Managers have a lot of power to motivate (or de-motivate!) direct reports. Higher levels of emotional intelligence in your managers allow your employees to be more authentically present in their work. It’s up to managers to do much of the day to day work that engagement entails.
Some simple things managers can do to encourage engagement include:
- Encourage regular employee feedback, potentially including a true open door policy.
- Schedule one on one meetings to go over key goals and concerns on a monthly basis.
- Recognize success, both on an individual and team level, when employees achieve.
5. Invest in Your People So They Can Invest in You.
There is an undeniable relationship between an employee’s ability to grow professionally and that person’s level of commitment to an organization. “Motivation” can be hard to quantify, but people understand whether an enterprise is helping them fly or holding them back.
High-touch, low-cost HR programs can help team members feel genuinely valued:
- Career planning initiatives that allow personnel to identify possible avenues of growth.
- Budgeting to compensate employees for getting certifications and going to conferences.
- Providing clear, actionable feedback that puts power into the hands of your employees.
6. Launch Employee Resource Groups.
Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led associations where staff members can come together based on shared interests or background. ERGs offer leadership opportunities and give employees a platform to have their voices heard, both great things for engagement.
7. Offer Opportunities Outside of Work.
A workplace's culture is most vibrant when it is guided by coherent values, not just profit.
Organizing or co-sponsoring volunteer opportunities gives your team a chance to hit the streets and put their values into practice together. This creates stronger bonds both individually and with the company.
8. Let Teams Share in Their Successes.
At innovative enterprises, teams don’t just toil in isolated silos. They work together – and, often, they party together with a major year-end event where individuals and teams can be recognized. Consider setting up your own year-end bash where high-performers can share their stories and best practices.
Employee engagement is a competitive asset money can’t buy. Once you have it, though, it can help you make plenty of profit you’d otherwise miss out on. Any company in any industry can implement these eight employee engagement tips, so get started today and see how you soar!