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July 15, 2015 |  Posted in: Digital Strategy, Intranet, Thought Leadership

Managing employee disengagement

We’ve all seen employees that have fallen out of love with the organization they work for.

What do they look like? Let’s take Barry as an example:

  • Barry would rather have root canal treatment than attend a team meeting
  • Barry buys ’best before dated’ pastrami in the hope that his kids get gastro, so he can take the day off
  • He sets his phone’s alarm for 4:45pm. He puts on his runners at 4:50, so he can be out the door at 4:59pm
  • Barry interjects team meetings with coughing and glances, but rarely adds constructive feedback
  • Barry works in operations and has not had a promotion in 3 years
  • Barry is not focused on his work, its full of errors and he misses deadlines
  • Barry dislikes change. He has not updated his professional skills let alone moved on from his paisley printed ties. 
The high cost of employee’s checking out

Barry is a disengaged employee. He isn’t alone. According to Gallup 70% of American workers are disengaged. That’s a lot of Barry’s.

In a major study conducted by Deloitte, employee retention and engagement is now the number one problem companies face. Some of the impacts include:

  • High costs of employee turnover
  • Disengaged employees are unproductive. They affect morale and destabilize the efforts of other employees
  • Their negatively affects customer service and delivery
  • This unproductive nature costs companies up to $2,246 per year per employee according to ADP report and,
  • Internal communication with teams and managers is disconnected, resulting in missed deadlines and poor sales results
Engaging employees

How can we engage the Barry’s of this world and fall in love with work again?

First, great engagement begins at the CEO level. They must communicate the company’s goals and vision in a way that resonates and connect with employees. They must become great storytellers. Their conversations should convey how each role in the organization, makes a difference, to the company, employees, customers, suppliers and the greater community. It takes management to make a concerted effort to change things. Only then can it be filtered through the entire organization.

Managers are key in changing employees from disengaged, to engaged. However, they first need to look at themselves. Only 35% of American Managers are engaged at work.

Gallup revealed in a study, The State of the American Manager, that consistent daily communication between managers and employees is vital. It can be done in three forms; telephone, face-to-face or digital. Importantly managers who hold regular meetings with employees are then three times more likely to be engaged. 

We take communication for granted. We are living in a time where there are brilliant tools and techniques at our fingertips to actively engage with our teams. Gallup’s study reveals most managers just don’t do it well. Employees value managers that take an active interest in them. This interest has to expand beyond what they do at work. It’s best to start one small habit of communicating well into your daily routine. Forbes offers some great tactics on how to do this. 

Other engagement strategies include:

  • Employing technologies to facilitate immediate feedback and flow of ideas and information.
  • Encourage a culture of constructive feedback. 
  • ‘Together’ – Make this word part of your vocabulary. It’s powerful, according to research at Stanford University. People hearing this word whilst working felt less exhausted, and could solve problems more correctly.
  • Challenges – Offer the opportunity to take part in challenging work or give them one task to try first.
  • Global learning – Provide career advancement by paying for employees to participate in a short course of their choice from the top universities around the world. Platforms like Coursera make this easier then ever. Encourage them to add their certificate to LinkedIn profile.
  • Offer increased responsibility – Smaller organizations don’t have the opportunity for career development. You can however give teams the opportunity to manage a critical task where they fully supported.
  • Break Through Space – Setup a space at work where employees can get away from distraction or work together as a team. This space is the place people go to crack an idea or solve a problem. Make it inviting, friendly and calm.
  • Celebrate success – celebrate team success and individual success.
  • Atmosphere – Define your company atmosphere. Write it down and speak it. Around here, we embrace hard work, laughter, a caring and playful environment.
  • Embrace Strong Community Values – Employees like to know they are contributing to something greater than themselves. Find a program that align’s with your corporate values and goals and supports community. The program should embrace employee involvement. The motto aligns Involved’.
  • Lastly, Set Clear Goals – According to Gallup, great managers don’t just tell employees what they expect when they first employee them. Or once a year in their review. They often talk to employees about their progress and day-to-day responsibilities. 

Solving the problem of employee retention and engagement is vital to remaining competitive and profitable. How are you going get employees like Barry to fall in love with their work and your company?

For more ideas on employee communication, collaboration and engagement follow us on twitter @streamworkspace 

July 15, 2015 |  Posted in: Digital Strategy, Intranet, Thought Leadership
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