All team leaders understand the importance of employee engagement. When your employees are engaged on the job, they’re simply more committed to doing the best work possible. They’ll also be more likely to believe in the value of the organization’s overall mission. This helps them stay both loyal and productive.
That said, employee engagement rates tend to be low. On the one hand, boosting your employee engagement rates provides you with the opportunity to cultivate a unique advantage over the competition. Focus on engaging your employees, and you’ll have the kind of team many other companies desire.
Many different factors can affect engagement. The fact that employees currently happy with their roles doesn’t mean they will continue to be in the future. There is still a chance they may become chronically disengaged at some point.
Engaging them again when this happens is obviously more difficult than avoiding the problem in the first place. Thus, you need to know how to identify the signs that engagement is waning, and what you can do to stop the trend before a minor issue becomes a major problem. To better understand how you can do so, consider the following:
Pay Attention to Warning Signs
Covering all the potential warning signs of employee disengagement in a single blog post simply isn’t possible. Again, the reasons employees stop engaging with their work can be very wide-ranging. They can also be unique from one team to another.
Because of this, you should prioritize regular communication. When you hire a new team member, ensure they know you’ll be meeting together on a weekly or biweekly basis to discuss their progress and goals. Let them know they should feel comfortable discussing any complaints or concerns they may have during these meetings.
There are also certain general warning signs you should keep an eye out for. Obviously, if an employee’s performance suffers, it could be a sign of disengagement. This can also manifest in changes to routines or work behaviors. For example, you might notice that an employee’s work is still relatively strong, but while they used to respond to emails and calls promptly and enthusiastically, now they’re growing less communicative.
Other issues to pay attention to include poor attendance, declining to participate in team activities they once joined enthusiastically, and general apathy. What’s most important is that you take action to remedy the situation if you notice engagement is no longer as strong as it once was.
Identify the Cause
One of the simplest ways to guard against disengagement is to discuss the issue with employees directly when they no longer seem to be engaged. Again, this highlights the importance of communication. If your employees feel comfortable sharing their concerns with you, when you ask them about these types of issues, they’re less likely to be defensive.
You might also consider distributing anonymous employee surveys if you believe disengagement is becoming a widespread problem. Use these surveys to find out what your employees like and dislike about their jobs. If they’re anonymous, you have a better chance of getting honest replies.
Review the surveys to see if you notice any trends. For instance, perhaps you once allowed for a greater degree of flexible scheduling among team members. Maybe that changed when you took on a new client or major project. The increased demands could have made flexible scheduling a less practical option.
Unfortunately, employees who were accustomed to a certain type of work environment can struggle to remain engaged when they must adjust to a new schedule. If surveys indicate multiple employees share this concern, you can determine what steps you must take to restore their sense of work/life balance.
That’s just one example. Your main goal is to look for patterns in survey results. They can help you better understand where your leadership approach is lacking.
Take Employee Concerns Seriously
Disengagement among team members can be relatively common when employees don’t get the sense that their leaders genuinely care about their needs. Thus, if an employee is becoming disengaged, and you fail to address the issue, they may become even more disengaged.
You already know you need to take action when you spot the signs of reduced employee engagement. That said, it’s also important to make sure your employees know you took action.
You can achieve this goal in several ways. Sometimes, you may need to be transparent with your team members. Let them know you understand they have constructive criticism, and you are addressing it.
Be specific when explaining what those means are. Of course, if you institute changes that directly correct the issues leading to employee disengagement, they’ll also know you took action because you care about their wellbeing.
Prioritizing boosting employee engagement is important to employee morale and the company’s bottom line. With an engaged workforce, you’ll operate efficiently and productively on a consistent basis. Once you’ve achieved a desirable level of engagement, these tips will help you maintain it.