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How to identify and address employee engagement issues

Published on June 27th, 2018 by Triton Benefits & HR Solutions

Ensuring that employees are engaged and motivated within their roles is absolutely imperative. Without engagement, all types of elements can suffer – from job satisfaction to productivity, employees that aren't engaged have real trouble contributing to the overall mission of the organization.

For these reasons – and to prevent things like high turnover and other staffing issues – it's important that human resource teams and decision-makers continually evaluate overall employee engagement, and work to identify and address any issues that might come up.

What does an unengaged employee look like?

This can be difficult to pinpoint, but it's absolutely worth discussing.

If you find that your workers, who may have had passion and enthusiasm at the beginning of their roles with the business, are now underperforming, taking frequent sick or vacation days or even just cutting back on their communication, it could be a sign that their engagement with their job is waning.

Employee with hands behind head and feet on desk with a chart with a downward pointing arrow behind him. An unengaged workforce can result in drops in productivity and spikes in job dissatisfaction.

The only true way to gauge the engagement and motivation of your workforce is to ask your staff members and leverage their feedback in meaningful ways.

"Employee surveys are important," HR Bartender noted. "However, the real impact of a survey is in what companies do with the data they receive. It's the actions that organizations take as a result of the survey that tells employees the feedback they provided was valuable. But the only way companies can take action is by getting detailed, specific information."

It's important to understand that this is an ongoing process – HR teams and other stakeholders won't get all the answers they want or need from a single survey. Oftentimes, survey answers will serve to start conversations, and HR leaders must be willing to move beyond and take action according to collected feedback and subsequent discussions.

What contributes to low engagement?

While every workplace and business environment is different, there are a few main elements that commonly contribute to issues with employee engagement, including:

  • Communication: This is a biggie. Identified by both HR Bartender and International HR Adviser, problems with internal communications can be a leading factor behind a lack of employee engagement. No one wants to feel like they're operating on an island, isolated from their co-workers and team leaders, particularly those who work remotely part or all of the time. Managers and decision-makers must ensure that clear communication between staff members is a priority within the business's mission and company culture.

    It's also imperative that HR leaders work to understand the root of these kinds of issues: Is it a complete lack of communication that's causing the problem? Or potentially that messages are simply not clear or provide enough detail? Understanding the cause of the problem is an essential first step in addressing it.

  • Employee training: Another area of contention is training and development. It's no secret that an individual that isn't properly trained and doesn't have the necessary skills and understanding to complete critical tasks will feel unattached from their job. Thankfully, this is a factor that, with the right time and investment, certainly isn't impossible for organizations and their HR teams to improve upon.

    "Bringing in experts and mentors to assist people not only makes for efficiency and company profitability, it also de-stresses people and makes them more happy and confident in their roles," International HR Adviser noted.

  • Change management: Whenever a large-scale process or strategy adjustment is made, it can cause feelings of unease among employees, particularly if it involves an element of the job that they've gotten used to doing in a certain way. Effective change management is imperative, but this is another element that employees commonly identify as a contributing issue to their disengagement.

When it comes to change management, there must be top-down buy in from leadership and HR team members especially. Setting a positive example and supporting efforts with proper training can make this often difficult process much more streamlined and less stressful for employees.

Employee engagement is a critical factor for enabling workforce productivity and overall job satisfaction. It can make or break an organization, and identifying and addressing common problems should be a top priority for businesses in every industry.

Issues like these certainly aren't simple to resolve, but with leadership and support from the HR team, organizations can ensure that their workers are motivated and efficient in their roles.

To find out more, and to learn about how outsourcing HR services could benefit your organization, connect with the experts at Triton today.