When working from home (or even from the office), your days sometimes begin to feel like you’re on an island filled with Google Docs or GChat pings rather than a team of employees working towards a common goal. And even before the pandemic, only around 40% of employees reported that they felt connected to their company’s culture, which leaves over half of the team feeling disengaged. As someone in a leadership role, this startling statistic should feel more like a warning; since 71% of executives feel that employee engagement is essential to their success, it is evident that a change needs to be made. And to make this change stick, it needs to be started sooner in their tenure at your company rather than later.
In the hiring battle for top talent, some executives have lost sight of what KEEPS this top talent around after they are brought on to the team. You can initially make a positive impression on new hires (as we discussed in this blog), but if you do not continue to engage them, they may lose sight of why they took the position in the first place.
“Why are my employees unhappy?”
Before we learn how to re-engage demotivated employees, we have to first take a look at why they may be feeling a disconnect. How do we do this? Through COMMUNICATION. Communication is the key to figuring out the reasons behind the disengagement and can lead you to learn more about what your employees feel can combat it. And before you can make improvements to your company culture, you need to foster an environment that encourages open communication.
Rather than simply assuming that your employee is intentionally sabotaging your business (which is, let’s face it, HIGHLY unlikely), asking them questions about what exactly they are unhappy with can go a long way. It could be on account of problems with management, lack of work, too much work, or lack of communication about goals and expectations. Whatever the reason may be, everyone needs to start somewhere on their journey to employee engagement. Here are three reconnection recommendations we feel offer a great basis for future efforts.
Make wellness a priority
Employee wellness doesn’t only refer to health insurance benefits and sick days. Now, it can cover any perk from flexible work schedules to in-office food offerings, and employees will choose companies based upon their wellness needs. And over the past year, these needs have only grown; 51% of workers reported an increase in mental health issues at work since the start of the pandemic, with symptoms of anxiety and depression on the rise.
Nobody expects the management team to be experts in mental wellbeing, but taking the chance to understand your employees’ struggles shows that they are dedicated to supporting their team through anything. This support can be shown by taking interest in your employee’s personal life to better understand their situation, encouraging breaks, and conducting regular mental health check-ins to ensure everyone (and everything) is running smoothly.
Set up a recognition system
With 37% (the majority in this study) of employees feeling that recognition is the most important part of their success, it is evident that adding this simple solution to your regular practices would improve your team’s engagement tenfold. No one, no matter the age or position, wants to feel like they’re heard and appreciated; 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving. By taking your employees for granted and not praising them for their hard work, there is no question that you can begin to erode their loyalty and productivity over time.
Recognition, whether given in public or privately (some employees prefer less fanfare), can improve motivation and job satisfaction on account of increased confidence and work pride. This has been proven as 84% of highly engaged employees reported that they were recognized the last time they exceeded expectations in the workplace.
Provide a clear path for growth
Growth looks different to every employee; some are looking to climb up the ladder in their current position, and others are looking for opportunities to move laterally throughout the company by learning new skills and joining different teams. Whatever your idea for career progression may look like, it might not align directly with your employees’ views, especially if this wasn’t explicitly discussed during their onboarding period. Only 29% of employees report being highly satisfied with their current career advancement opportunities, and this dissatisfaction can be impacting their performance daily.
Our theory? Better late than never! By setting up a time to talk with your employees about their career goals, you can reassure them that you are dedicated to their professional growth both in general and with the company as a whole.
These recommendations are not the be-all-end-all in terms of employee engagement, but they do offer direct solutions for those who have not already implemented these types of programs into their company’s cultural offerings. When your employees aren’t engaged or connected to their work, everyone loses. So start reaching out to your team today and begin changing your workplace for the better!