We spend so much time at work, thinking about work, and commuting to work during the week that it’s pretty disheartening to find out just how many people are unhappy at their job. According to Gallup, only 32% of American workers were engaged with their work in 2015. Now, it’s unrealistic to expect most employees to be engaged at all times—work is work, after all. However, the negative impact of poor engagement and morale can be felt at every level of the company and can negatively impact the organization as a whole.
If you’re worried about how low engagement levels are impacting your business, read on to learn just how costly disengagement can be, as well as five tips for quickly reviving engagement on your team.
The Real Cost of Disengagement
It’s easy to say that productivity loss due to poor engagement doesn’t have much of an effect on the overall bottom line, but that simply isn’t true. In fact, it is estimated that US companies lose an astounding $450 to $550 billion every year due to lost productivity. In contrast, companies that successfully invest in engagement can outperform those who don’t by as much as 202%.
With numbers like these on the line, it becomes crucial to invest in your team as soon as possible. Recent studies show that when leaders actively invest in their employees, workers felt more energized and inspired 71% of the time. Looking to inspire your team? Here are five tips for quickly bringing your workforce to life and initiating engagement efforts.
1. Approach from the Top
Leadership is the first place you should start when investing in employee engagement. Bring your leadership team together and show them how important their contributions are to improving engagement and productivity. Managers make the difference for about 70% of the engagement level factors across organizations, so it’s crucial that they understand their role and become invested in employee engagement. Help them create an environment of communication and transparency to help their teams thrive!
2. Focus on Strengths
So often, it’s tempting to focus on the weaknesses of your employees rather than on what they’re doing well. Instead, take the opposite approach. When you’re assigning work, think about each person’s individual strengths and interests, and try to give them opportunities to use those. You’ll increase both productivity and satisfaction, and your team members will know you see them as individuals.
Recognition doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, but it can have a profound impact on morale and engagement. Consider implementing a few recognition programs so that regular positive feedback for employees who are doing a great job doesn’t fall by the wayside. These can be as small as recognizing employees at company meetings, organizing team meetings, or simply praising the employees who go above and beyond.
Everyone wants to advance in their career, and many people start feeling stuck after a while. Even if you can’t offer many advancement opportunities, periodic training and professional development can help keep team members engaged. They’ll gain confidence and new skills, and feel like they’re getting more out of work than just a simple paycheck.
5. Invest in Health & Wellness
Sitting around all the time isn’t good for your employees’ health, well-being, and mental sharpness. If you haven’t considered implementing health and wellness perks into your benefits, now is a good time to start. Subsidized gym memberships, healthy food in the office, and company sports teams can all be good ways to get your employees moving and healthy. At one college university, freshman students who visited the gym more than 15 times in their first semester had an average GPA of 3.08, vs 2.81 for students who never went to the gym. By encouraging fitness and good nutrition in your employees, you can boost productivity while helping your team feel happier and healthier.
While these five tips can certainly help you kick start your employee engagement efforts, they’re not going to prevent disengagement forever. You will need to really address the root causes of disengagement in your organization and come up with a long-term plan for the future. These quick fixes can bring the jolt of life your office culture needs, but for lasting change, you’ll have to think big—and likely make some big changes to organizational leadership styles.
Ryan Ayers is a strategy and management consultant with over five years of experience in multiple industries including information technology, medical devices and logistics. Many clients call him the BizTech Guru. He is a freelance writer on the side and lover of all things related to business, technology, innovation and the LA Clippers.
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