Why Are My Employees Not Engaged at Work?

/ 17 June 2021

“A highly engaged workforce means the difference between a company that outperforms its competitors and one that fails to grow.”Gallup

Low productivity, increased absenteeism, lack of teamwork, and high staff turnover are just some of the toxic symptoms of disengaged employees. In today’s complex and continually evolving workplaces, effective employee engagement strategies are essential. Without them, you risk losing top talent, jeopardizing productivity and ultimately, damaging your bottom line. 

3radical is here to help. In fact, identifying problem areas and transforming disengaged employees into high-value workers is our specialty. Before we take a look at why your employees are not engaged at work, let’s first define employee engagement and why it matters. 

Defining Employee Engagement 

“Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.”

As described above, employee engagement is more than just turning up and demonstrating a general commitment to the job. It’s about immersing an employee in an organization to the point they feel a genuine connection with their workplace, their colleagues, and the underlying culture, values and ethos of the company. 

Why Employee Engagement Matters

The goal of employee engagement is to help organizations attract and retain top talent, while simultaneously ensuring these high-value employees work effectively and perform at their best. Here’s some facts that illustrate why employee engagement is a bedrock for a high-performing organizations.

  • Organizations with engaged employees showed a 19% increase in operating income over a 12-month period, compared to a 33% decrease in companies with disengaged employees. Source: Towers Perrin

Now you have a good understanding of what employee engagement is and why it matters, let’s take a look at where your strategies could be falling short. 

You’re Not Focused On the Individual

The first step to connecting with disengaged employees is to transform your mindset. At 3radical, we underpin all our strategies with what we call an Employee Engagement Mindset. This means transitioning away from the outlook that every employee is the same and adopting an approach where every employee is seen as an individual. When you can appreciate that every employee has different needs, values, and priorities, your employee engagement strategy can start to thrive. 

You’re Not Asking for Feedback

One of the reasons your engagement could be suffering is failure to understand what your employees actually want. To develop effective engagement strategies, you need to gain insight into the corporate needs of your employees, as well as their personal needs and priorities. For example, engagement may be suffering due to frustrations about lack of teamwork. A survey could help you identify this problem and introduce a new collaboration platform that supports teamwork and opens up communication lines between your employees. 

Similarly, employees not engaged at work may be low due to high stress levels and mental health issues. Offering employees access to mobile meditation apps, mental health training portals, and monthly office massages could help boost employee engagement and improve the overall health and wellbeing of your workforce. 

Your Communication is Unclear

According to The Conference Board, almost two-thirds of all employees are only 33% as productive as they could be because they don’t understand what they are being asked to do. This is an incredible statistic that demonstrates just how detrimental poor communication can be in the workplace. 

You’re Not Incorporating Gamification

Gamification is one of the single most valuable tools you can leverage when it comes to employee engagement. At 3radical we define gamification as “the integration of game science and game mechanics into non-game experiences to motivate increased levels of engagement.” Think scratch-and-win tickets when you buy a McDonald’s coffee, or unlocking new membership levels as you spend at a retail store. 

We take this concept and give it a corporate makeover, using reward and recognition techniques to engage employees and encourage them to demonstrate desirable behaviors. As well as intrinsic motivation driven by an individual’s inherent satisfaction of taking part, we also incorporate reward-driven extrinsic motivation that motivates audiences using positive rewards. This can be in the form of leader boards, team engagement activities and the opportunity to win prizes for participation. 

You Don’t Have a Wider Engagement Journey

When it comes to employee engagement steps, one of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is failing to clearly define the immersive employee journey. In the same way you carefully curate your customer experience from start to finish, you also need to focus on the experiences that shape your employee journey. This includes the early stages such as recruitment, onboarding, and training, as well as the middle stages such as skill development, promotions, and teambuilding. 

Even final milestones, such as the resignation process and exit interview, can have a big impact on engagement. If your employee engagement is suffering, going back to square one and analyzing each step of your employee journey can be a good way to start rebuilding your organization from the ground up. 

You’re Not Building Trust

Trust is a cornerstone of employee engagement and without it your organization will suffer. The Center for Creative Leadership reveals that 80% of employees with a high degree of trust in management are committed to the organization, compared with only 25% of employees with a low degree of trust.

Delivering on your promises is one way to build trust. Leading by example and approaching each day with integrity, transparency, and authenticity is another way to foster trust in the workplace and by default, improve employee engagement. Trust between colleagues is also important and can be strengthened with team engagement activities. 

Ensure Your Employees Are Engaged at Work

In the US, Gallup estimates the average disengaged employee cost an organization roughly 34% of that individual’s salary per year, i.e. a $47,000 salary costs organizations almost $16,000. Don’t let your organization hemorrhage money due to lack of engagement. Reach out to the 3radical team today to discuss results-driven employee engagement strategies for your business.  

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