How to Increase Employee Engagement in the Workplace with 3 Simple Strategies
Have you noticed that employee engagement at your workplace is suffering and that your team is often negative, unfocused, or dissatisfied? Here are three common issues that are often overlooked, and the easy solutions to help you increase engagement within your organization.
Employee engagement in the workplace has become one of the hottest topics in the corporate world. Today, through business publications such as Forbes and global analytics firms like Gallup, you can find an impossibly large number of statistics on the importance and impact of employee satisfaction. And for good reason too.
Poor employee engagement doesn’t just affect individual’s happiness and your team’s connectivity to your business and each other. As outlined in our blog post, Why Employee Engagement Matters & How You Can Track It, engagement levels can actually have a huge impact on your organization’s productivity and bottom line.
So, if you’ve discovered that people at your organization are not feeling engaged with your workplace, the next stage is crucial: you must determine why and how to improve it.
A variety of things can lower overall engagement at your company, such as unmotivated or cynical employees. However, below, our team looks at three major issues that can result from poor employee engagement in the workplace – that are not often associated with a disengaged workforce.
3 Surprising Issues that Are Linked to Poor Employee Engagement in the Workplace
When a member of your team is openly unhappy at the office or uninterested in participating in company events, it’s not too difficult to deduce that they’re not very engaged in their role and your organization. But there are other big performance issues that can stem from low employee engagement in the workplace, which you may have misinterpreted.
Below are three common problems that you may not have realized are tied to poor engagement.
Employee Engagement Issue #1: Poor Quality of Work
An employee struggling to complete high quality deliverables could be on your radar for the wrong reasons. It’s easy to blame unsatisfactory work on any of the following misconceptions:
- Laziness – If your team member was once producing great work and now seems to care less, you may jump to the conclusion that they’re cutting corners, so that they don’t have to complete as many things.
- Lacks the Skillset – Perhaps you’ve assigned a new type of project to an employee and the results have been lack-luster. In this scenario, it would make sense to assume this member of your team simply doesn’t have the skills.
- Improperly Trained – When an employee keeps making mistakes on something that should be “business as usual,” you may be tempted to assume they didn’t receive proper instructions on how to complete that task.
While the above reasons could be why your employee is struggling, there’s also a good chance that they’re simply not feeling engaged in their work.
In fact, Smarp shared a study in 2019, citing that disengaged employees cost companies $450-500 billion each year due to low productivity, poor attitude, and an unwillingness to take on more responsibility.
So, what’s causing your employee to feel uninterested in producing quality work? One potential cause could be a lack of regular feedback.
How Irregular Feedback Can Affect Employee Engagement in the Workplace
Providing timely feedback is one of the most crucial parts of keeping employees engaged in the work they are doing.
While giving negative or constructive feedback can make some people uncomfortable, it truly is the best way to make sure employees know what is expected of them. If they continually hit roadblocks but don’t know what they’re doing wrong, then they might just give up entirely.
It’s important, however, to make sure that you present your suggestions and advice in a productive, non-judgmental way.
And, remember, feedback doesn’t always have to be negative! Try to provide positive and encouraging comments whenever possible, so that employees know when they’re on the right track, and feel recognized for a job well done.
Employee Engagement Issue #2: High Turnover
Are employees leaving your organization all too often? If the answer is yes, you may be quick to assume it’s for one of the following reasons:
- More Money – Regardless of your industry, it can be competitive out there for skilled applicants, and perhaps another company was able to offer your employee a higher salary.
- New Role – If your team member was ambitious and interested in a change in their responsibilities, you could deduce that another organization offered them a more senior position.
- Poor Fit – Not everyone will connect in the same way. You may have noticed an employee not working as well with other colleagues and assumed they’ve moved onto to another company that was a better fit for them.
But did you know that engagement can play a huge role in whether an employee chooses to stay at a company?
According to Harvard Business Review, strong employee engagement in the workplace results in 25% lower turnover for organizations struggling with retention and 65% lower turnover for companies not experiencing issues. Those are some pretty staggering numbers.
One of the biggest contributors to low engagement that results in turnover is a bad employee-manager relationship. Gallup reports that the number one reason that people leave a job is a poor relationship with their boss or leader.
How a Bad Relationship with a Manager Can Affect Employee Engagement in the Workplace
An employee will never feel fully engaged at a company if there’s distrust between themselves and their leader. It’s a day-to-day relationship that your team members rely on to understand their role, purpose, and contributions within your organization.
A break down in this crucial working relationship can happen for a variety of reasons – everything from differences in communication styles, unclear goals and objectives, or employees feeling micromanaged.
However, regardless of why the relationship is suffering, an employee who doesn’t feel valued or supported by their leader, is unlikely to feel engaged in what they’re doing.
In fact, Forbes reports that 96% of employees believe showing empathy is a crucial way to improve employee retention.
Employee Engagement Issue #3: Departmental Conflicts
Take a closer look at how teams within your company interact. Is there tension during interdepartmental meetings? Do people from different teams seem like they’re on the same page, or are they out of sync?
Departmental conflicts can easily be blamed on any of the following issues:
- Frustrating Procedures – If your company has processes that multiple employees have identified as being troublesome, you may think this is the reason for the conflict.
- Personality Clashes – You might believe that certain issues are arising from a few specific individuals not getting along.
- Different Priorities – Each department has their own goals and priorities, so you may assume that this is the cause of any conflict.
However, consistent problems between teams are likely an employee engagement issue if you have a leadership team that never seems to see eye-to-eye.
How Misaligned Leadership Can Affect Employee Engagement in the Workplace
It’s never a good thing when employees feel like they’re being pulled in multiple directions. If the leaders at your company aren’t aligned, then you’re more likely to have departmental conflicts and lower levels of engagement.
Why? Because there’s nothing worse than feeling like the work you’re doing doesn’t matter, or that other departments think you’re doing a poor job.
Employees want to feel valued not just by their own team, but by the company as a whole. If each department has different priorities, then you run the risk of individuals becoming frustrated and disengaged.
3 Tips on How to Increase Engagement at Work
Now that you’ve identified your workplace engagement issue and understand the possible root causes, here are three simple and effective strategies to help you increase employee satisfaction at your work.
How to Solve Employee Engagement Issue #1: Poor Quality of Work
Recommended Strategy: Communicate Consistent & Supportive Feedback
According to Gallup, supervisor support more than doubles the odds of employee engagement.
Get into the habit of providing feedback on a regular basis. It’s the only way employees are going to know how to grow and improve in their role. Don’t wait for a performance review to tell employees what they’re doing wrong and what they’re doing right – provide brief, immediate feedback whenever possible.
You can use the Situation – Behavior – Impact model to provide better feedback to your colleagues.
- Situation – Start by identifying the situation to provide context for the feedback.
- Behavior – Next, you’ll want to give specific examples of what they did right or wrong.
- Impact – You should finish by explaining the consequences of their actions and how it affected you, the rest of the team, or the organization.
For more guidance on having constructive discussions with your employees, our team recommends our Productive Feedback & Performance Reviews training program.
How to Solve Employee Engagement Issue #2: High Turnover
Recommended Strategy: Exit & Stay Interviews
Address employee turnover directly by speaking with individuals one-on-one about their reasons for leaving with meetings, such as:
- Exit Interviews – When employees decide to move on from your organization it can be extremely valuable to discover why. Hold a formal “Exit Interview” to get a better sense of the reasons they’re leaving. Exiting employees are more likely to be honest, and can help you uncover issues other employees may be too afraid to speak up on.
- Stay Interviews – You don’t need to wait for an “Exit Interview” to get a sense of why people aren’t staying at your organization. Try facilitating “Stay Interviews” to keep employees around longer. These are great opportunities to discover why people like working on your team, what can keep them at your company longer, and what might eventually tempt them to leave.
Managers should ask HR representatives to share any relevant feedback from these sessions that could help them improve relationships with future and existing employees.
How to Solve Employee Engagement Issue #3: Departmental Conflicts
Recommended Strategy: Get Leaders on the Same Page
Reduce departmental conflicts by getting company leaders aligned. Strong leadership means strong employee engagement!
Here are a few ways you can help your managers get in sync:
- Agree on Your Goals – Your company leaders should be coming together at least once a quarter to discuss shared goals and priorities. This is the best way to make sure you’re all working towards the same thing.
- Strategize Together – Each department should have a role to play in achieving your goals. If this isn’t the case, then you may want to rethink what your objectives are.
- Management Consulting – Bring your leadership team together with a series of customized Coaching & Consulting Solutions. You’ll work one-on-one with a professional coach and consultant to improve alignment and overcome challenges that are specific to your business.
Having a high level of employee engagement in the workplace can help boost individual’s happiness and well-being, as well as increase your company’s productivity and bottom line. But it can also help your team produce higher quality work, improve retention, and keep the peace between departments.
If your company is having issues increasing engagement at your office, our team recommends participating in our training and development program, Active Employee Engagement.
What strategies do you use to increase engagement in your organization? Let us know in the comments below.
Still Not Sure What’s Contributing to Your Company’s Low Engagement?
You can download A Manager’s Guide to Improving Employee Engagement for more common engagement issues, potential causes, and strategies to improve. Simply click the button below for access to your free copy of this all-in-one PDF document.