Worldwide, only 13 percent of employees are engaged with their organizations, according to a January 2016 Gallup study. This alarming statistic means that nearly 9 out of 10 people are unsatisfied at work—a place where they spend the majority of their adult lives.
This lack of engagement among the employed is deemed by many HR experts a global crisis. Unhappy workers can be the root of organizational problems, such as high turnover rates, displeased customers, and damage to the employer brand.
In the wake of this trend, we have rounded up four articles from April that dive into common mistakes employers can make when handling employee engagement, and more importantly, what they can do to revitalize the unhappy worker.
In her Forbes article, Christine Comaford highlights that the first and most detrimental mistake companies make is not placing an emphasis on first engaging leaders.
She mentions that leaders aren’t “building a solid foundation where employee engagement can thrive.” Without bringing leadership teams together to build this foundation, employee engagement will never be fully embedded in the company culture.
Treat employees as you would customers, create passionate disciples, stand up for employees’ best interests and define a social mission—these four objectives are the keys to unlocking the engaged worker according to Ryan Scott’s Huffington Post article. In his article he explains that smart employers understand that success lies in employees who love their jobs. A crucial mistake employers can make is not seeing the value in an employee-first approach. Not only do disengaged workers cause a potential $10,000 loss in decreased productivity, but they can also be a major hit to the employer brand—during and after their time at the company.
The digital age is upon us and the methods employers use to keep workers satisfied continues to evolve as worker needs evolve. However, as technology begins to play a more vital role in all aspects of life, employers need to continue to place emphasis on the human element and engage with employees. As David Westfall in this Forbes article urges, while technology alone cannot solve every problem in the workplace, it can be used to augment collaboration and engagement through a decentralized flow of communication. Westfall sees technology as a tool that “should be used to engage on a direct and personal level with the individuals closest to the information flow.”
A very common mistake employers might not know they are making is failing to tend to the transitioning employees and workers who are on their way out of the company. In order to keep a workforce fully engaged and top talent interested, it is not enough to merely focus on current employees. When dealing with events like layoffs, leadership needs to focus its attention on engaging both current and transitioning employees. Offering career transition services, like outplacement, shows employees that you care about them not just while they are on your payroll but well after. Barry Shannon explains the importance of this engagement in his Irish News article;
“It's about providing a supportive environment, helping them understand and identify the best career paths available to them and how to navigate their way through,” Shannon says. “And remember; those who are staying with you will be watching to see how you treat their colleagues and can you really expect your employees to go the extra mile for you if you don't do the same for them?”
With employee engagement at a worldwide low, employers need to devote more time and resources to energizing the disengaged worker. A company’s people are its most valuable asset and, when treated as much, they can contribute to increased productivity and profits, as well as retention and a strong employer brand.
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