The statement “Six Reasons Why Your Employee Engagement Initiatives Might Not Be Working And What You Can Do About It” is very pertinent one for organizations. An answer to the question will help organizations to devise a better and effective strategy to enhance employee engagement.
If we scan the literature on employee engagement and methods to improve it, we are almost struck with its sheer enormity and volume. Lot of online methods and tools as well as engagement surveys are available to assist the organizations in the task of improving the engagement of employees. This is true across the globe and also across different work-cultures in different countries.
However, when it comes to real field practices, almost everywhere, the employers or leaders are feeling the pinch of not being able to engage their employees effectively.
An effort has been made here, to analyze the reasons for the above. It is to be borne in mind that the analysis is based on the perception of the author and data available; and it is possible that a better way may emerge in future. In that case, we will refresh the blog with new evidences.
Below are mentioned 6 reasons for the employee engagement not being effective, in spite of best efforts by the consultants, employers and leaders.
1.Lack of proper basic research and preparations before taking up employee engagement
As per Brent Glesson, the employees are of 3 types: engaged (15%), not engaged (67%) and totally disengaged (18%).
While the totally disengaged employees are the real deadwoods and spread negativity, the “not engaged employees” may be both opportunity and threat. They prove to be an asset and opportunity, if efforts are made to engage them effectively. “Not engaged employees” may prove to be a threat also, if proper actions are not initiated to engage them in time.
HBR.org is of the opinion that employees with longer tenures are the ones, who are also the least likely to be engaged.
However, no study with respect to type of employees in an organization is being carried out presently. Moreover, most of business leaders do not have an appropriate employee engagement strategy, available with them. The need is to make a detailed study before taking up the work.
It must be borne in mind that in organizations dominated by engaged employees, the revenue is 2-5 times higher and the total annual net income is 2 times more.
2. Lack of an integrated emotional management plan
Most of the employee engagement strategies talk of empathy, trust, motivation, social outings etc. albeit separately. Some of them talk of trust, others talk of empathy, while the others say that connectivity is the most important pre-requisite.
However, none of them have emphasized on development of an appropriate emotional culture for their organizations. It is to be noted that employees are engaged in organizations, where an adequate emphasis is given on developing and maintaining an appropriate emotional culture.
3.Lack of plan for sharing vision, mission and goals of the organization with employees
In most of the cases, the employees are not made aware of the vision, mission and goals of their organization. Unless you align them with the organizational vision and other related targets, engagement efforts may prove to be futile.
4. Too much micro-management
One of the main reasons for poor employee engagement is micro management. When employees are asked for small details, it kills their professional development. It also leads to productivity issues and creativity is nipped in the bud.
Managers are not able to concentrate on their own responsibility due to their obsession with the micro-details of their employees doing work.
It must be understood clearly that micromanagement is the greatest killer of employee engagement.
5. Lack of appropriate hiring and succession strategy
Employees are assets of any organization. If due care is not taken in hiring the right people for the right job and also in an adequate succession planning, this may lead to talent-shortage in future.
6. Lack of a monitoring mechanism and regular feedback
Regular feedback allows leaders and employers to understand the overall engagement levels of employees, and also about how employees feel about the whole situation.
What You Can Do About It?
After having deliberated upon the reasons why your employee engagement initiatives might not be working, let us now dwell upon what you can do about it.
Here are 7 solutions to the above problems.
1.Devise an appropriate employee engagement strategy
Formulation of an appropriate employee engagement strategy is the first step towards solving the problem.
The employee engagement strategy may be put in place, so that employees will be able to establish a positive emotional connection with their organization. You cannot make them do it, but you can create an environment, in which it is likely to be done.
As per blog.jostle.me, the employee engagement strategy is less about focusing directly on work and more about giving employees the environment; they need for creativity to flourish.
2.Build a strong emotional culture in your organization
Developing an appropriate emotional culture and strengthening it is the best way for effective employee engagement. If emotional culture at work place is not properly maintained, employees hide and suppress their emotions. This may lead to uncomfortable and unproductive situations. Similarly, if employees do not have proper control over their emotions, it may lead to wild behaviours. Hence, expression of emotions in a respectful, dignified professional manner by employees is a must to building a strong work culture in a healthy organization, leading to effective engagement.
Enhancing and nurturing positive emotions at workplace is equally important. On the other hand taking fast action to nip in the bud, the negativity is also very vital. Some other facets in emotional culture are mastery over your own emotions. The skill to manage the emotions of the others at work place calls for a sustained effort.
For knowing more about emotional culture and the related facets, you may see our already published blogs.
3. The leaders must make it urgently important to make their employees aware of the vision, mission and goals of the organization
As per go.oracle.com/employee/engagement, aligning of business strategy with individual goals is very important facet.
Sometimes it happens that employees themselves are not much aware of what is going on in the organization. This situation is unconducive. For example, if employee engagement survey is carried out, the results of the same must be communicated to them.
As per forbes.com, the common mistakes committed by the leaders in doing employee engagement surveys are, (I) Employees think that there is no seriousness in it, (II) Survey results are not shared and (III) It not being implemented.
Similarly, as per “G2 Learning Hub”, employee pulse survey may be carried out. They further opine that the employees must be engaged from the day one.
As per O.C. Trainer, connecting of employees in entirety is very important for an effective engagement. This may consist of 4 aspects,
-Connecting to each other,
-Connecting to leaders,
-Connecting to careers and
-Connecting to accomplishments
4. Delegate and empower employees, avoid micromanagement
Too much micromanagement is not good for an effective employee engagement. Some tips to avoid micromanagement are:
- Do have a concrete, specific, SMART plan for employees.
- Clearly tell them what their accountability is.
- Set clear expectations from them.
- Make them independent, with respect to doing their own work.
- Let them also learn to be part of the team.
5. Develop an appropriate hiring and succession strategy
An appropriate hiring planning must be in place, so that the best talents are recruited. It must be borne in mind that unless you hire right kind of people for right job, how you will make them engaged.
As per “G2 Learning Hub”, traits and behaviours should be hired. They further opine that experience and education don’t guarantee performance. Poor attitude is one of its main reasons for disengaged employees.
In nutshell, while recruiting people, you should emphasize more on their traits, attitudes and behavior, rather than on experience and number of degrees.
An appropriate succession plan should be there so that the organization doesn’t suffer, if anyone leaves suddenly. Best option is to have a rotation as well as nurturing and developing policies in place, so that everyone knows each other’s job.
It is the distinct opinion of the author that if rotation as well as nurturing and developing policies are in place in an organisation, this will lead to the following benefits.
-Increase in talent of the employee, it may make them multi task skilled.
-Reduce the number of not engaged and totally disengaged employees in the organization, as they may switch over from one type of job to other, depending upon their choice. They may, thus, remain interested and be engaged.
This in turn, may lead to an enhanced employee engagement.
6.Track and assess
As per “Status.net”, one of the best employee engagement practices is track and assess.
An effective monitoring system must be included in the plan. This will ensure optimum performance of everyone in the organization, leading to effective employee engagement.
“Thrive Global” is also of the opinion that “asking for feedback” is really vital for employee engagement to be effective.
7.Have meaningful wellness programs
Having wellness programs in your organizations is the most meaningful initiative for fostering engagement of employees. It is increasingly being attempted by many corporates in the world.
For knowing more about this, please read the following blog published by us.
In nutshell, you should first study your organization well and then devise a strategy for employee engagement involving each and everyone. Please remember the golden rule “Treat people as you would want to be treated.” Also don’t go for expensive consultants available in the market. They may glitter, but may not be gold in reality. Compassion, mutual respect, kindness and flexibility don’t cost any money.
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