A motivated, happy workforce doesn’t just benefit your company with increased productivity and better quarterly revenues. Employee engagement also guarantees that you get to retain your best employees, enjoy a higher level of staff loyalty, stave off nascent union organizing and ensure your company remains innovative and competitive going forward.
With that in mind, let’s examine the most common warning signs that suggest your employees aren’t as motivated or engaged as you’d like them to be.
Everyone knows teams or individuals who are content to be “just good enough.” Yes, they’re hitting their targets, but box-ticking metrics aren’t the stuff of great companies. Try to develop a culture that inspires your employees to want to become excellent in everything they do.
Most employees should be fine with taking constructive criticism; ideally, they should be actively seeking it out. Unfortunately, some resist feedback, and this can be a sign of increasing withdrawal, both in the workplace and elsewhere.
Some employees can be overly protective of their own status quo. Not wanting to be blamed for failure, they shun any risk at all.
Regardless of the specific benefits that your company enjoys from good interpersonal relationships among your staff, it is a universal truth that bad employee interactions are always a net detriment to productivity. Having employees who won’t work on maintaining or fixing good relationships is a sure sign of trouble further down the line.
Changes to workplace practices can often trigger a natural and subconscious resistance in employees, which should be predicted and managed as such and even leveraged as a coaching or training opportunity. Regardless, it should only be a temporary reaction and dissolve over time. However, when employees demonstrate a chronic and obstinate desire to stay stuck in their ways, it may be an indicator of other, more serious, underlying issues.
Not dissimilar to the desire to shun risk, a lack of interest in experimentation suggests that your employees have grown bored with their work and encounter a lack of stimulation and curiosity in what they do.
Employees who excuse their own work by finding fault in someone else’s show a lack of accountability. They never learn from their mistakes.
It shouldn’t be a hard sell to get your employees to expand their skill set and make themselves more valuable in the process. If some of your staff are reluctant to engage with workplace training and ignore offers of educational opportunities, you might want to explore it with them further in a bid to address any preexisting concerns.
We know gossip when we hear it, and in the workplace, it’s never a good thing. Not only does it decrease team cohesiveness, damage morale and inculcate a negative atmosphere, it’s also a consistent precursor to the beginnings of union organizing in your firm. Rumors and hearsay can spread false notions and add fuel to the fire that union officials rely on.
If you get that feeling that some of your employees are jealous of others, or that there’s a rift between a department or two borne out of a feeling of inequity, it’s definitely worth investigating. What might appear as a sense of petty injustice can have large ramifications on labor relations further down the line.
And, finally, what could be more indicative of disengagement than your staff not turning up to work in the first place? Fortunately, this is usually one of the last signs to manifest itself, giving you plenty of opportunity to address the problem beforehand.
If you’re witnessing any of these signs of failing employee engagement, it’s not too late! In fact, its testament to your commitment to your teams that you’re aware of their needs. Now is the time to begin connecting, and you can use powerfully consistent video messages, highly interactive eLearning and dedicated websites to create an innovative, engaged workforce.
According to Gallup, 85% of employees in 2018 say they aren’t really engaged at their office. As an HR department, you have a responsibility to impart important information to your employees. Getting that information to impact unengaged employees is an extremely difficult task. Not only can you improve the impact of your communications for 2018, you can improve employee engagement with texting!
Employees shouldn’t feel as if their time is being wasted with benefit information, excess paperwork, pointless meetings or long training sessions. Keep your messages short. Communication that is direct and clear will help employees pay attention and remember key points. Improve HR communications efficiently with SMS. Text messaging is a great way to send short but impactful messages, since you will have to trim each message to 160 characters.
Use surveys to gather valuable feedback from your team. Employees that help build the company are going to be more engaged and feel more personal responsibility in the outcome. Let your employees have a voice that directly impacts the company by texting them polls and surveys about your policies, practices and events. The more an employee feels plugged in to the process, the more loyal he or she will be. You want to create employee advocates that are excited about your brand and spread a positive word to their friends, family, peers and acquaintances. The more people your employees tell about your company, the more your organic reach will increase for both potential customers and top talent for new hires.
Engagement numbers often drop, the longer employees have been with your company. Gallup reported that only 5% of employees are engaged after 10+ years with a company. Talented and seasoned employees are the most expensive to replace, so improve long-term employee engagement with texting. Make sure you have training in place that is direct and built for the employees who are already well versed in your company policies. Don’t waste the time of your seasoned employees, but make sure they also have room to grow further as professionals in your company. Employees that are able to see a healthy career path are going to be more excited about the direction of their role as a professional in the company. Text messaging can be used to get feedback from these employees, remind them of professional opportunities and check in on training retention after an advanced session.
The things you offer your employees outside of standard pay are going to motivate them to remain excited about your company. When benefits change, text team members with key facts that will encourage them to click on a shortened link, texted to provide to additional content. Allow employees to check in on how many vacation days or sick days they have left by texting in for a personalized, automated response. Improve employee engagement with texting by promoting office contests. Employees can even be awarded prizes for being the first to text back a response to a trivia question about policy, get perfect “attendance” in responding to HR surveys or have their name drawn from a number of correct responses to training quiz questions.
Use creative strategies and text messaging to get your employees more engaged in the workplace. Look for ways to make employees feel needed and empowered on a daily basis, and improve employee engagement with texting. Heightened morale in your company will lead to employees that do more and stick around longer.
Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.
A manager tells a baby boomer employee, “I need you to work on this new project. I’m confident you can figure out what needs to be done,” and walks off. The manager doesn’t give the employee any of the tools needed to do the job properly nor does he explain why the project is important. In another department, a manager sends a millennial employee multiple texts that say, “I’ve been meaning to discuss your future with the company,” and the conversation never takes place.
The first employee feels taken for granted and hopes the work can be completed to the management’s liking. She wants, and needs, goals and feedback as work progresses, but at her stage of life she is not interested in career advancement. The millennial believes the manager is uncomfortable giving feedback and uninterested in the employee’s career plans. He is now looking for a new job.
Much emphasis is placed on developing effective (aka the “right”) communication in the workplace, but do your leaders understand the implications of ineffective communication? A decade ago, the workforce primarily consisted of two generations. Today there are usually three or four, and millennials in particular are driving changes in workplace communication. However, you shouldn’t ignore the fact that each generation has a preferred communication style. Many managers continue to rely on one communication style, acceptable 10-20 years ago, and find themselves questioning high employee turnover rates.
The ability of organizational leaders to communicate with employees in the style they prefer, and in a way that meets their expectations, is key to developing engaged employees. For example, millennials like social media, texts, video and other digital-based communications. They appreciate honest and regular feedback, productive training, collaboration and leaders who respond to their input in some manner.
The “right” conversation isn’t always held face to face, but all interactions across communication channels need to have positive qualities. The right conversations cross generations because they’re “tools” that add to the employee’s understanding of the company mission, the employee’s role in achieving that mission and the value he or she delivers. Engaging leadership conversations embrace employee training and development, insights and ideas, and personal goals. They promote a workforce ‘community,’ and are transparent and sincere.
Gallup conducts numerous surveys on employee engagement, and for good reasons. Employee engagement percentages remain stubbornly low, approximately 33 percent. Measuring engagement levels is not enough. In the technology age, overwhelmed leaders often rely on metrics as a wall to hide behind rather than directly engaging employees. Engagement survey results and other metrics cannot replace regular communication, feedback or training. The numbers may indicate progress or a lack of progress, but a good employee engagement program includes ongoing conversations between your leaders and employees, and managers need the appropriate learning to conduct productive, regular conversations.
A writer in the Harvard Business Review suggests that employee complaints concerning poor communication in the workplace are often symptomatic of a larger, deeper problem. In the article’s example, complaining employees were actually communicating in the workplace, but the real problem was uncertainty about their job responsibilities. Human Resources wasn’t making job responsibilities clear. Leaders trained in effective communication would have examined and uncovered the real issues by engaging employees. This applies to union-proofing your business, too. Employees will inevitably turn to other sources if managers don’t understand and correct larger organizational problems.
The right communication is a linkage between employers and employees, and that can be in person and via video, websites and interactive eLearning that help companies orient, train, inform, educate and connect with employees. In fact, Gallup found that employees who were most engaged had some form of communication with their managers every day. Leaders who use a mix of phone, in-person and digital communication are the most successful in engaging employees of all generations.
Why are so many skilled professionals clamoring to land a job with companies like Facebook and Google? While yes, these companies appear stable and lucrative, there is something much bigger fueling interest: their employer brands. The perks, the opportunities, the flexibility and the social environment – these are the factors job seekers want to hear about. So if your company isn’t attracting quite the right candidates or if your retention rates are lower than you’d prefer, consider tweaking your employer brand.
No false advertising here. Just start providing an honest look at your company’s work environment. That’s why it’s key to focus on the Employee Engagement Journey and help prospective employees understand what it means to become a vital part of your team.
While each job and each person is on a unique path, clearly defining what your employer brand promises can go a long way toward establishing trust. You might publish pictures from an office party or a sneak peek at employees collaborating on a new product. Just make sure the kind of content you publish aligns with how your company presents its brand identity and values.
Consider recruiting current employees to participate in communicating your employer brand. While you can talk about how wonderful the company is all day long, seeing social media posts or reading blogs from employees themselves often creates a stronger image of work culture.
There are a few key factors that will propel your brand from anonymity to popularity. As these factors are reiterated and established over time, candidates will come to trust your brand.
Being an “employer of choice” requires that you think of “compensation” as more than just wages paid. For a company with a strong employer brand and reputation, compensation includes the full range of benefits an employees enjoy. Broaden that scope to include things that move team members along in their journey with the company, including skill-building workshops, work-from-home opportunities and bonding and networking internally with co-workers. Be sure to present the full range of compensation (your employer brand) to candidates, as few will be fully aware.
Another thing to remember is to keep your compensation package open and adaptable. As you communicate more with employees, you may find that certain benefits need to be tweaked, added, or removed to be sure the brand is supporting their journey.
One of the most powerful forces that will make you an employer of choice is word of mouth. Your current employees are the best spokespersons for your brand – both during and after their time with you. Thus it is critical to continuously check in on employee engagement. Keep the lines of communication open so when a change needs to happen, employees have no problem talking to you about it.
Consider creating a “pre-hire orientation” message that will communicate all that is expected of employees. This way, your recruiting efforts have a better chance of resonating with the right candidates. If an applicant sees something they don’t like in the pre-hire orientation process, they (and you) know your company isn’t a fit for them.
Build a network of trust both within and outside of your company, and your brand reputation will shine through everything else. As Lindsay Nahmiache, co-founder of Jive PR eloquently phrased it in Forbes, “Building a network is a gradual process that takes months and sometimes years to pay off . It consists of continually providing support and value in two-way relationships.”
Forging meaningful connections via social media is a goal of most people. It’s not just individuals though; about 50 percent of large companies and 75 percent of small businesses use social media.
Companies use social media largely to increase brand awareness or as marketing and sales tools. However, it can also be an excellent way to engage your workers meaningfully.