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Chronicle

Is employee disengagement recruitment's new epidemic?

Posted: 05 November 2014

Employee disengagement is haunting offices and companies everywhere. A very real threat to business, this complete misalignment with peers and values is causing havoc in today's workplaces. And it's on the rise. With well over 50% of employees not engaging at work, it's pretty shocking stuff. And this is about more than poor staff morale. Disengagement affects everything from company culture to business profits, so essentially the things that keep a company afloat.

The good news is that many savvy employees aren’t turning a blind eye to their talent troubles. They are getting hands-on, scouting out the best ways to get their employees on side and tuned in.  As disengagement spreads like wild fire, so too do the plethora of solutions that promise to tackle the issue. At the forefront is employment engagement programs.

Anatomy of a perfect employee engagement program - Asking the big questions.

Disengagement goes beyond worries over pay or job safety, as the economy came back to life, disengagement was still very much present. So instead of pointing fingers let’s get engagement back on track!

Employees are not just motivated by money, this is very well proven. It’s a real injustice to employees to presume that a few cash prizes will reignite the fires of engagement. When considering what makes the perfect employee engagement program, what form motivation will take is key.

Different people are motivated by different things. Disengagement is born when the everyday becomes soulless, what makes their day valuable is what spurs engagement. Motivation is about more than simple rewards; it’s about trying to make them invest and take pride in the role they play in a company. Start by asking yourself some important, revealing questions;

  • Are employees productive? - If not, perhaps you need to look into how and why. Maybe the nature of their tasks is boring? Perhaps the system for completing and sharing their feedback is rubbish, or even non-existent? This is where engagement software and gamification can play a massive role - a preference of the millennial workforce.

Be careful with competition. Typically, sales teams respond to competitive motivation more than say more collaboratively minded service employees. Point-based leaderboards are great for spurring on performance but take these approaches with a pinch of salt, money or status are pretty disposable ways to deliver engagement.

Closing the gap - Death to the pecking order!

If there’s one thing that disrupts a harmonious, engaged workforce it’s power hungry managers. Too many companies still behave like their employees are expendable and so behave accordingly.

When constructing an employee engagement program, don’t be blind to how your managers and departments interact and treat one another. Respect and openness are key to creating an engagement workforce who care as much about their fellow workers as their own position.

  • How are managers performing? - Managers don’t need to be all powerful leaders who have the only keys to info and decisions. An established pecking order can do awful things for engagement as divides are immediately put in place to cull collaboration - a benchmark of engagement. The best employee engagement programs close this gap and restructure how a company works and how flexible they are.

Hooray for collaboration. Implementing a program that has a collaborative heart is a great way to encourage employees to connect with one another. From corporate social networks to software that allows workers to exchange feedback and collectively perform, all are winners. These moves all go towards a successful employer brand and consequently, company culture. Look into well being or fitness initiatives that actively push employees to achieve goals as a group.

Investing in company culture - Programs that personalise goals and values.

It’s no secret that company culture is the main attraction, and engagement is its greatest trait. Engagement is culture 101, if you’re lacking it then you’re in trouble. If you want employees to care, you need to aswell. Creating a culture rich in values, opportunities and communication is more appealing than bigger paychecks or cash incentives.

Don’t just pick any old program, create one that is designed with your company values in mind. Do you cite creativity and innovation as company values? Great, find new and exciting ways to bring together your team. Why not build an app that can be used by the workforce? Perhaps flexibility is a big part of your ID? Fantastic, create ways for employees to interact with one another easily.

Employees look for the right fit from a workplace as well as a job. If you can nail engagement and embed it in your company culture as more than a buzzword, loyalty and value will follow.

  • Is your company culture retaining employees? - A poor culture results in poor retention. Simple as. Engagement is about keeping employees close, valued and an integral part of a company’s identity. If they don’t feel this, they’ll move onto pastures anew. Other than obvious effect on morale, re-hiring is a costly occurrence. Invest in your team and save yourself unnecessary expenditure by ensuring engagement is simply good practice.

These strategy-ridden programs toss up a whole other host of questions and approaches. Inspiring and engaging an employee isn’t a uniform exercise, each workforce is different. Yep, gone are the days of the one size fits all solution.

Deciding to implement such a program is the first step, well done, but how to populate your program and motivate a team is a whole other kettle of fish. Get to know your employees today, don’t just digest what’s on the page, step out into the workforce and get a grasp on what engagement means to the unique individuals in your company.

Do you like this stuff? Then join over 21,000 other awesome people who get tips on improving their employer brand, recruitment, marketing and the odd spot of career advice delivered directly to their inbox from me!

Twitter snippets.

  • (Tweet This) Disengagement goes beyond worries over pay or job safety.
  • (Tweet This) It’s a real injustice to employees to presume that a few cash prizes will reignite the fires of engagement.
  • (Tweet This) Motivation is about more than simple rewards; it’s about trying to make them invest and take pride in the role they play in a company.
  • (Tweet This) Disengagement is born when the everyday becomes soulless, what makes their day valuable is what spurs engagement.
  • (Tweet This) If there’s one thing that disrupts a harmonious, engaged workforce it’s power hungry managers.
  • (Tweet This) Creating a culture rich in values, opportunities and communication is more appealing than bigger paychecks or cash incentives.