How to prevent (and treat) disengagement at your workplace

The current state of employee engagement is startling. According to a study released late last year, only one in four employees are highly engaged at work. When engagement has a direct connection with bottom line results, it’s no wonder that talk about an employee engagement crisis exists.

Employee disengagement doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a build, a process. An enthusiastic employee degrades to a point of disengagement when she feels a lack of trust, worth, hope, and competence. These feelings are often driven by the following factors:

  • Lack of constructive feedback and recognition from management, as well as limited one-on-one time with them,
  • Limited career growth and advancement opportunities;
  • Poor communication from leadership;
  • Unfair or poor pay;
  • Lack of transparency from the leadership team;
  • Limited or lack of job training and educational opportunities;
  • Excessive workload;
  • Lack of tools and resources; and
  • Limited collaboration with team

Engaging employees may cost your company time and resources, but can you afford the risk of ignoring a problem that affects 3/4 of your workforce? The engagement process involves introducing meaningful tools in a continuous way with some persistence. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your employees stay engaged, or to re-engage the disengaged:

Train frontline managers

At the end of the day, your frontline managers are responsible for the well-being of your employees. Their role is to guide, encourage, and inspire them to succeed. Make sure your managers are properly equipped. Invest in middle management by providing them with training and coaching, whatever is necessary to help uplift employees.

Introduce new communication tools

Ditch that tired, old employee suggestion box and instead focus on tools that provide two-way, real-time communication with employees. Idea software programs are a great way to promote and encourage dialogue between employees, management, and leadership. Whether it’s leaving messages, engaging in live chats, or offering suggestions, these platforms streamline engagement and make ideas more manageable and actionable.

Become an active listener

Disengaged employees often feel that they aren’t being listened to. So listen. During meetings, ask your employees for their opinions. Use open-ended question such as “What do we think of this?” and “How could we improve?” Take your employees out for coffee and ask them what you can do to improve their workplace experience. Make sure they understand that you’re on their side, and want to work with them to make their situations better.

Manage with more involvement

Senior leaders should commit to spending more time with their frontline employees. This can be as simple as giving praise or rewarding an employee when it’s deserving. Demonstrate to them that their futures are important to you. Meet with employees once a month to review performance objectives and create a plan together to help them meet their goals. Set deadlines and provide assistance when they ask for it.

You must push back and take steps to bring flagging employees back into the fold before it’s too late. Remember, overturning disengagement doesn’t happen overnight. It takes commitment and a genuine desire to improve the employee experience. Focus on making changes to your engagement techniques and you will be rewarded with a happier, more productive workforce.

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