Employee engagement is a workplace philosophy which aims to make employees focused, motivated, and happy, rather than just treating them as expendable worker drones.
The principle is that by improving work conditions and prioritizing staff happiness, employees will be more committed to their job and therefore become higher performers. This means a business runs more effectively as staff members put their best foot forward.
The benefits of an engaged workforce can’t be overstated. Get your employees on board with your business’s goals, and you’ll reap the rewards tenfold. Engaged employees are:
- Satisfied with their jobs and less likely to leave it
- Less likely to be absent
- A more profitable hire
The problem is that engagement has long ceased to be the norm. How many people do you know who dread every single Monday morning? It turns out 78% of people report suffering from the Sunday Night Blues, meaning they spend most Sundays feeling gloomy and full on dreading the next day.
The Disengagement Crisis
Disengagement around the world has reached crisis levels, with just 13% of employees globally saying that they’re actively engaged. This means the vast majority of staff are either not fully engaged or worse, they’re actively disengaged. The first group aren’t particularly motivated by work and just want to get through their hours and leave. The latter group hate their jobs so much they’ll do nothing all day and might even try to sabotage the wider team’s projects.
The following table shows some of the characteristics seen across these different levels of engagement. It’s easy to see why it’s worth getting your employees engaged…
Indeed, actively disengaged and not engaged employees are basically an economic sinkhole. Employers pay their salaries but get very little in return, slowing down business and reducing profits. It’s estimated that £340 billion is lost every year in the UK as a direct consequence of this disengagement epidemic. Even one miserable employee can put a dent in your finances, with the average cost in lost salary per disengaged employee estimated at £16,000 a year.
What’s making employees so unhappy?
Worried about your staff’s engagement levels? Here are some of the top causes of staff unhappiness:
We’ve all had a bad manager at one point or another, but with 3 in 4 claiming their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job, something is clearly amiss. Staff is suffering under incompetent managers around the globe. Some don’t communicate or support their team. Others turn into micromanagers and insist on closely monitoring every tiny stage of a project, driving their staff up the wall.
Often, it’s not necessarily the manager’s fault. It’s common for management roles to be the only way that an employee can progress and secure a higher salary. But management jobs require a very different skill set to junior roles. For example, an exemplary programmer or content writer doesn’t necessarily make a great manager. Often you end up wasting a talented employee’s technical expertise by giving them responsibility for a team they don’t know how to handle. By offering alternative paths for promotion and providing managers with adequate training, this can be tackled to create happier managers and employees.
A chronic lack of training has sent employee ineffectiveness skyrocketing. Traditional training periods have been replaced with on-the-job style learning and shadowing existing staff. However, longer-serving staff might not have the time or resources to train new-starters and get their work done, so this training ends up haphazard and badly managed. The end result is an inefficient and unhappy workforce. After all, how can employees understand their responsibilities when reasonable levels of training are no longer offered as standard? Sure you’re cutting costs, but how can you make money if no one knows what they’re doing?
Offer new staff comprehensive training as the company standard. You’ll build a less frustrated and far more capable workforce as a result.
The tradition of the annual pay rise is slowly fading away. But with less than half of employees happy with their salary, and employees everywhere making less and less money every year, this can turn into a major cause of employee resentment. Is a job worth it if you’re barely paying your bills and living paycheck to paycheck?
This has bigger knock-on effects. If you start at a new company, you’ll likely get a bigger pay rise than if you stay where you were. In fact, it’s been shown that if you stay at one company for longer than two years, it can cut your salary in half over the course of your life
This effect means people hop between jobs more often to get more money, so the traditional lifelong commitment to one employer no longer exists. This then reduces engagement. Offer fair salaries that match industry standards, with pay scales in place to ensure everyone gets the same treatment.
On another note, frequent career jumps are also making people lonelier. Lifelong friendships with co-workers have disappeared alongside the concept of a job for life. Promote a positive work environment with plenty of social events and support to remedy this.
Harness the power of employee engagement
It’s pretty clear that something needs to change. Take a look at our infographic which tells you even more about the causes, impacts, and solutions for employee disengagement. It’s time to bring your workforce back to life…