We are all guilty of zoning out at work from time to time – it’s simply human nature. However, there are certain times when keeping employees engaged proves to be an ongoing issue. The ideal employee will come to work eager and passionate about what they are doing, day in and day out – but sometimes, that flame can flicker out and engagement falls off. This can happen for a number of reasons, and everyone is bound to have an offday once in a while, but if it becomes a frequent occurrence, then whole energy of a workplace can suffer.
According to a recent poll, only 32% of employees in the United States feel like they are engaged at work – if you ask us, this number is far too low. Employee engagement goes hand in hand with creating a positive workplace culture, both of which significantly benefit you as an employer. So, the question is: what can you do to make sure your employees stay as enthusiastic and engaged in the workplace as possible?
Here are some of our tried and tested ways to keep employee engagement consistent!
Place a Focus on Onboard & Training
An easy way for employees to become disengaged is when they have no real direction or understanding of what they have been hired to do. Take time to lay the groundwork about exactly what is expected from their role, the company’s values, the workplace culture, etc. in the employee’s first couple of weeks. Rushing through the onboarding and training process will leave them in the dark. New employees are less likely to ask for help in a new environment, so it may only be just a matter of time before they begin to become disconnected from the task at hand.
Be clear about what is expected from them, but don’t micromanage. As a manager, it can be difficult to let go of the reigns, especially to a new employee who doesn’t yet know the company like the back of their hand. But, if they don’t have a chance to ease into the role and approach it with their own work ethic and ideas, they won’t be able to meaningfully engage with it, either.
One sure-fire way to turn employees against you is to be unnecessarily rigid in your management style. Nobody wants to work for an employer who is unwavering in their rules and regulations. Flexibility in the workplace is something to be encouraged and being flexible to employee requests does not make you a pushover. On the contrary, accommodating the odd request here and there lets employees know that you value their time and well-being.
Allowing for some wiggle room with your employees (within reason) shouldn’t be seen as a loss of power or the beginning of an unstructured, disorganized workplace. If an employee needs a little bit more time with an assignment or needs to come in later due to an appointment, it could help reduce their stress levels and in turn, improve their quality of work and boost engagement levels.
Accommodate Everyone Equally
There are countless types of employees out there, and the chances of you having a workplace where everyone has the same work ethic are almost zero. A positive and dynamic workplace culture benefits from a diversity of learning and working styles, but they all need to be nurtured equally in order for the team to succeed.
For example, introverts that are forced to work in an environment that only accommodates extroverts are going to suffer, and vice versa. Some people stay engaged when they work individually, and some thrive in a group setting. Some prefer talking in person, and some get their best ideas out over email. The list goes on and on.
It may take some extra time and energy, but try to understand what each employee needs in order to stay engaged in the tasks at hand and feel comfortable at the office. They will appreciate you for it!
Celebrate & Encourage Your Employees
Employees like to know that they are appreciated for the work they do. Providing feedback, whether it be positive or negative, in a constructive way helps keep them on track, but also encourages them to produce better work.
Giving praise to employees will help them to feel like they are more than just a number, and that they are being noticed and appreciated for their work. From things as small as saying ‘thank you’ to bigger gestures, like company outings and team-building activities, showing your appreciation for your employees is absolutely vital to keeping engagement alive.
As the saying goes, a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Take the time to make sure everyone feels like they are a valuable team member so that your end goal doesn’t suffer.
Every workplace is different, and there is no guaranteed formula for improving engagement levels. Start by trying a combination of any or all of these tips! What do you do to keep your employees engaged at work? Join the conversation on LinkedIn or in the comments below.