CoAdvantage- Employee engagement in the workplace is – and has been – in a state of crisis. According to Gallup, only about a third (34%) of employees are actively engaged, and that number seems to be dropping.
Gallup attributes low engagement scores to a few different causes. One is bad management. They’ve previously found that one in two employees has left a job just to get away from their manager. Those employees were so actively disengaged that they vacated a position rather than continue.
Another issue is that many workplaces fail to meet employee needs. “Among the engagement elements Gallup measures,” they write, “the greatest declines were in clarity of expectations, having the right materials and equipment, and the opportunity for workers to do what they do best.”
So, what can employers do?
First, get the basics right.
Ensure that workers know what’s expected of them and have the basic resources they need to do their jobs successfully. It also means making sure the employees have at least their “survival needs” met, according to one hierarchy of engagement levels. Absent that, employees will be operating more in survival mode. If a better opportunity comes along, they’ll snap it up, because they need better working conditions.
This can be a little more subtle than it appears at first glance, though. Most employees thrive best when they find their work to be meaningful and impactful. Employers should thus take steps to help employees connect the dots between the day-to-day work they do and whatever good they produce for customers or the world.
Second, manage your managers.
One of the resources most employees need to be successful is effective leadership. This doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult; simple steps can have big results. For example, according to Forbes, when managers help set performance or work goals, employee engagement skyrockets to 69%. When managers don’t do that, over half (53%) of employees are disengaged.
But don’t forget that managers themselves can also suffer from disengagement. Just because someone has been promoted into a position of leadership doesn’t necessarily mean they’re highly engaged. In fact, engagement levels among managers are almost exactly the same as among regular staff: two-thirds of managers “are either not engaged or are actively disengaged in their work and workplace,” writes the Harvard Business Review.
In fact, this may be part of the reason why so many employees leave to get away from managers: disengagement is simply contagious. As with the rest of the workforce, make sure the managers have everything they need to do their jobs – including adequate training and support from above – and have the opportunity to understand the importance and meaningfulness of their own work.
CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.