By: Rajeev Behera, CEO of Reflektive
Employee engagement is one of the hottest topics today in people management, yet little is being done to improve it. According to the oft-cited Gallup poll, only 32 percent of employees were engaged in their jobs in the last year. Disengaged employees aren’t just a nuisance; they wreak havoc on the bottom line by bringing productivity down across your entire organization. What’s worse, their indifference can rub off on customers and hurt your brand significantly over time.
Engagement comes in many varieties. There will always be employees who are disengaged for personal reasons, but most employee disengagement stems from poor management. It’s also true that most employees that leave their jobs do so because of their managers. To increase employee engagement and combat boredom they may be feeling, employers should start by looking at the likely cause: poor management.
Boredom occurs when employees don't have enough work, don't have enough challenging work, or don't feel connected to a greater mission. Here are three tips to help your company increase engagement and reduce boredom for a more productive workforce:
1. Manage with clear objectives – Employees feel disengaged when they believe their work is disconnected from the business’ greater mission. By setting clear and realistic goals for each employee, from the top down or the bottom up, that employee will see how her contributions are tied to the overall success of the business. It’s extremely important to never let your employees feel like their work is meaningless. Even if they are working on a small piece of a much greater puzzle, ensure they know how their contributions are impactful for the common good of the business.
2. Move to real-time – Outdated models of performance management rely on once-a-year performance reviews, which can be detrimental to employee engagement. Not only are these reviews time-consuming administrative nightmares, but they often are also extremely inaccurate and cause your employees to focus more on their own job security than on their contributions. By encouraging real-time feedback in the moment instead of once a year, employees can improve when that improvement is most relevant and needed.
3. Prioritize development and career planning – Employees lose engagement and become bored when they feel they are not being developed. An employee who doesn’t see a path to advancement quickly becomes disengaged. It’s also easy to put development to the wayside when projects are piling up. Create a culture of development by requiring your managers to set clear developmental goals with each employee and track progress towards those goals. These objectives should be specific, such as become a better public speaker or learn a new programming language, instead of general, like “become a manager” or “be promoted to VP.” Break down the skills needed for these larger advancements and help your employees advance in their careers. By doing this, your employees will feel more engaged and ultimately will contribute more to your business.
Employee disengagement is a systematic problem that should not be ignored. By ensuring you have a culture of feedback and employee development, you can combat disengagement and ensure your employees are contributing their very best.