I won't teach you anything new by stating that your employees are the heart and soul of your company. Your employees help you develop and market your products and services. They uphold your company's values and are the first -and often only - point of contact with your clients.
A psychometric study of employee engagement in Canada highlighted that 69% of surveyed Human Resources and Talent Management professionals indicated that engagement is a problem in their organizations.
Employee engagement refers to a person's emotional or sentimental attachment to their employer. This goes beyond a paycheck, partaking in social activities or being a team player. The engaged employee is invested in their company's success and exceed their goals and expectations.
To prioritize employee engagement is to know what factors contribute to it and what could potentially decrease it. Quality leadership, a nurturing organizational culture and career development are among the top elements leading to employee engagement.
On the flip side, employee disengagement can cause serious harm to your company's prosperity. The following are some of the more common indicators of low employee engagement.
Low performance Every company defines goals and key performance indicators. An employee who lacks engagement is disinterested in the company's success. They do not see the benefits to them nor do they see the need to be included in the process. Consequently, they will not bother to attain their goals or properly perform their assigned tasks. Providing clarity in their contribution and, if applicable, the added benefits to them is key.
Workforce planning is essential to human resources management. Simply put, it's the tricky balance of having the right people with the right skills at the right time place and the right time. Frequently calling in sick or asking to leave early, are all signs of disengagement. In this situation it is equally important to wonder why they do not wish to attend work, but also what they might be doing while off work. Are they job hunting? Are they already going on interviews?
Depending on the case, a conversation with said employee will help you decide on the best approach to take.
Talent management is a skill people in leadership positions are required to continuously work on.
Pay attention to your employee's answers during career conversations and weekly meetings. An employee who doesn't seem interested in their performance, or does not make short or long-term goals within the company might be thinking of resigning. An increase in employee leaving (that includes voluntary and involuntary departures) is a direct consequence of employee disengagement. Consider doing exit interviews to come up with an action plan to increase employee retention.
All of these ultimately lead to unwanted costs and decreased revenues. But the consequences are more than financial. They are a sign of a potential breakdown in the organization's outlook.
The same psychometric study cited above probed employees who indicated that there were three pivotal ways to improve engagement: better communication and clear expectations (71%), listening to employees’ opinions and ideas (62%), and giving recognition (52%). Employee disengagement is preventable and manageable, and we now know that it is caused by the culture that permeates any organizations. Indeed, employee engagement must be at the center of the vast majority, not to say all activity, of the company. It is not only a question of holding one-off activities, but rather of surveying employees regularly both, formally and informally, in order to progressively evolve towards an environment in which all prosper.
Elaborating a solid Employee Engagement Plan is invaluable to any company, no matter how big or small.
N.B.: Some of these indicators might be signs of personal distress . Providing a safe and judgement-free environment to your employees is beneficial to their well-being.