The Secret to Staff Engagement (It’s Not Free Pizza Fridays)

The retention of your best staff and, as a result, the success of your business, heavily relies on securing employee engagement. This constant process begins from the moment an employee is interviewed and continues throughout their career with you.

Gallup’s research indicates that less than 10% of employees in the UK feel enthusiastic about their job. This is a global issue as well, with only 21% of employees worldwide reporting engagement in their work.

Disengaged employees can be a significant problem for any organisation. They can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and, of course, higher staff turnover rates.

Here are some signs that your employees may be disengaged:

  1. Poor quality and quantity of work: Quality and quantity of an employee’s output can be a way to spot disengagement. The work they produce may be poor and/or missing deadlines.
  2. Mood or attitude changes: If an employee’s mood or attitude generally changes for the worst, this is a tell-tale sign.
  3. Disregarding normal working hours: Disengaged employees tend to display their disinterest by arriving late and leaving early (or bang on time if you’re lucky). They disregard the need to maintain a professional demeanour and instead exhibit an almost nonchalant attitude towards adhering to regulations.
  4. Lack of participation in team or one-on-one meetings: Observable signs of disengagement include lack of participation in team or one-on-one meetings or in “the meeting after the meeting,” where employees meet separately to process and communicate.
  5. A more negative attitude: If an employee perceives that they are not receiving adequate rewards or recognition, they may develop a negative outlook towards the organisation and become disengaged.

Lowered productivity and unfavourable customer experiences can be obvious and visible consequences of employee disengagement. Company culture and morale suffer when employees lack a sense of belonging to the organisation, ultimately hindering the achievement of corporate objectives. This can quickly spread, and those who had no issues with their employer can be dragged down by those who aren’t backwards about coming forwards about their disengagement to their colleagues.

How to re-engage with the disengaged

Ultimately, like many issues, communication can be key to providing a solution. Employees should feel confident that their constructive feedback will be met with an open mind. Creating a work environment where divergent opinions can be expressed with confidence is a vital skill for leaders. A culture of open-mindedness, curiosity, and a willingness to consider alternative perspectives should be fostered amongst all individuals within the organisation, irrespective of their seniority.

However, despite your best efforts, you may still have employees who aren’t confident enough to share their views with you face-to-face. Conducting confidential surveys can provide valuable insight into the minds of disengaged employees. By posing questions related to aspects such as company culture, management, and responsibilities, the underlying causes of disengagement amongst your teams can be uncovered.

Three TED Talks to help improve your employee engagement

1 – The Happy Secret To Better Work – Shawn Anchor

Psychologist Shawn Achor, in his amusing TED Talk, presents a counterargument to the conventional notion that employees must toil diligently and attain success to attain happiness. Instead, he asserts that the reverse holds true: contentment spurs productivity and enhances cognitive abilities, vitality, and innovation. Achor goes on to state that a constructive mindset results in 31% higher productivity than a negative, indifferent, or anxious one.

2 – What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work? – Dan Ariely

In his TED Talk, Dan Ariely contends that individuals derive greater fulfillment from a sense of purpose and advancement than from mere happiness. Ariely suggests that to effectively engage their workforce, leaders must recognise the significance of fostering a workplace culture where employees are passionate about their work and feel valued in return. Occasionally, the act of exerting more effort can augment individuals’ affection for their profession, as too much ease can result in a lack of pride in their accomplishments. Conversely, at times, the opposite is true.

3 – The Puzzle Of Motivation – Dan Pink

In this TED Talk, Dan Pink, a New York Times bestselling author, discusses several experiments that reveal how incentives frequently result in the opposite of their intended effect, particularly in intricate tasks. For instance, offering monetary or comparable incentives to enhance right-brained abstract tasks typically results in failure. Generally, too many companies make their talent decisions based on obsolete, unexplored data instead of emphasising internal motivation.