Employee Engagement: What mistakes are YOU making?

Every employer knows about the benefits of employee engagement, yet there are a number of classic mistakes which employers still fall foul too.

Employee engagement is super important, and its ramifications can be seen across a range of organizational facets. In previous blogs we have discussed the importance of employee engagement. Employees who are engaged are generally more productive; a Gallup poll suggested that engaged employees can be up to 22% more productive! With increased engagement comes higher employee retention and lower turnover.

Even though most organisations know about the benefits of engagement and have employed their own employee engagement strategies, there are a number of classic mistakes which employers still fall foul too. This blog identifies archetypal mistakes to help you identify and improve your engagement strategy.

employee engagement mistakes

Assuming a satisfactory result in the engagement survey is good enough

Employers often make the cardinal sin of assuming that good or even satisfactory results in the employee engagement survey implies development in engagement. A survey is a measurement tool, not a strategy to improve engagement. A survey will show you areas where to focus development not produce it organically.

Use of the data from these results is crucial for the betterment of each employee's experience of working in an organization. Only by building on what is learnt through surveys can one expect to see an increase in engagement and therefore, more productive employees.

Not appealing to emotionally driven engagement

This mistake may be hard to discover at first. There is often a gap between engagement in managers and employees; with management being highly engagement compared to employees in given situations. With a roll out of new or updated values, missions and culture, managers and supervisors become super excited but this often does not transition to employees. This is because employees are not actively involved in the discussion concerning company values. Resultantly, employees are not emotionally connected to them and react passively towards this regeneration of values.

Given the strong relationship between emotions and active engagement, it is suggested that the process is done with employee’s ideas and input included. This increases the likelihood of an emotionally driven engagement strategy and the increases chances that values, mission and other correlates meaning something to everyone and not just managers. You want to develop engagement through at a deeper emotional level.

Just leaving it to the managers…

It is assumed that managers should know their employees better than anyone else at the company. While it is good to trust managers to do their job, mistakes often occur in assuming that managers will be able to engage their employees alone and subsequently boost engagement by themselves. This can result in a cascade of costly errors. Offering total flexibility means that organisations can get away with not providing aid, training, strategies or guidance to the manager. Managers often are not prepared for this and will not know how to go about it. The results can be particularly damaging to engagement.

Make sure to properly equip your managers with the necessary tools to help motivate and engage. It is important to understand that managers are producers of engagement they are facilitators of the implemented strategies!

The Manager!

You have to be careful to make sure your manager isn’t exhibiting traits which can hinder engagement. Favouritism, micromanagement and distractedness all have this potential. Favouritism leads to underappreciation of given employees and subsequently, emotional disengagement and a drop I motivation. Micromanagement indicates to employees that their work isn’t too a desired level and isn’t trustworthy. Micromanagement has been outlined as one of the key characteristics for managers to avoid. Employees may switch off and completely disengage if faced with continuous micromanagement. Distracted managers pose the opposite problem! A manager being too engrained in their own work and responsibilities neglects the relationship they have with an employee. Consequently, the employee may lose sight of their own individual goals, and their role in contributing to the company goals.

It is also important to make sure to take care of managers. If your employees seem disengaged, then it may be a result of your manager suffering from burnout. A study by Harvard Business Review found that leaders who work in a sustainable manner (with concern over their own physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing) have employees who are more engaged compared to managers who don’t exhibit this level of individual sustainability. Accordingly, managers who avoid vacation days, workplace perks or send emails over the weekend tend to have employees who feel pressured to follow this work ethic.

Ignoring the generational gap

“Generational gaps do exist. The results reveal that employee engagement differences are likely to exist across generations” - Jay Gilbert

Even though millennials are becoming an increasingly large proportion of the workforce, it is important to recognise the differences between generational workforces. Consequently, it is important to tailor your engagement according to generational expectations and characteristics.

The one off employee engagement event idea

Having fun at work is undeniably beneficial and a sign of a healthy team. Although fun and engagement overlap, they are not the same thing! Companies devise fun engagement events, but this does not transfer to an increase in engagement and assuming that it will is dangerous. There should be an over-arching theme or reason behind these engagement events which tie into superordinate engagement of your company.

Don’t be afraid of tech!

Historically, engagement has been a largely face-to-face science and this should continue indefinitely! But it is important to recognise the range of benefits that technology can bring to engagement. Tech solutions help provide you with a method of monitoring and addressing employee engagement in a non-invasive, constructive manner.

Additionally, in the wake of more teams having to work remotely due to COVID-19, there is a more apparent need for the implementation of better and more reliable tech. As teams are working separated from each other, the use of tech enables employees to prevent becoming isolated and consequently disengaged.

Want to read more? Check out our other blogs! Want to read more in this area? We recommend:

Joseph Garvey

Joseph Garvey

Content Team

5 minute readPublished on May 30, 2019

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