5 Employee Engagement Pitfalls Senior Leadership Should Avoid
Levels of employee engagement across the nation, and even across the world, are dangerously low. According to Gallup, only 30 percent of employees worldwide feel engaged at work. That translates to three in every ten workers. It goes without saying that having 70 percent of your workforce feeling despondent and detached from their work is conducive to neither a happy nor a productive work environment.
How do you rectify this? Many companies make the mistake of believing employee engagement is a job best left solely to the HR department. But the reality is that, in an actively engaged workplace, engagement starts from the very top. Only then can it trickle down into every facet of the company and create a cohesive and unified work environment. So as leadership, how do you make sure you don’t fall into the same engagement traps so many companies do?
Here are some of the biggest employee engagement pitfalls you should aim to avoid.
Pitfall 1: Not Taking Charge of Employee Engagement
As mentioned, employee engagement is too often seen as an initiative that rests on the shoulders of HR, or employees themselves. As a result, employees can feel an obvious disconnect from their leaders, and the company as a whole.
Instead You Should: Make sure you are involved in engaging your employees. Work with HR on specific initiatives to help every employee to feel engaged, and offer your help in carrying them out.
Pitfall 2: Too Many Ineffective Surveys
Tracking engagement levels is obviously very important. Without measuring engagement, you have no way to know how your employees feel and what you need to do to improve. However, sending out too many surveys, especially those that are overly long or ask the wrong questions, can frustrate employees and have the exact opposite to the intended effect.
Instead You Should: Create shorter, more effective surveys, and send them out at more natural intervals. For example, replace lengthy multiple choice surveys with three or four “short answer” questions, and send them out quarterly instead of every week or month.
Pitfall 3: Failing to Adapt to the Modern Work Environment
One of the reasons employee engagement is so low across the board is too many employers stick to tired and outdated methods. Similar to what is seen in employee onboarding. The American workforce is evolving, and with it has come a whole new set of employees who have different motivations and work philosophies. Where money was once the biggest motivation, it is no longer the case. You can no longer throw bonuses at problems and expect they will be solved.
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Instead You Should: Use your engagement surveys to uncover your employees’ real motivations, and target them specifically. Look into gamification as a method for engaging your millennial workforce.
Pitfall 4: Ignoring Red Flags and Warning Signs
As well as engagement surveys, there are other ways to know if employee engagement could use a boost. One big red flag is a high turnover rate. Some employers will brush off a high employee turnover as nothing to worry about, as long as they are still attracting talent. However, the reality is that high turnovers are not only expensive, they can be a huge warning sign that something is broken within your company.
Instead You Should: Work to boost employee engagement, and make an effort to keep your best employees for the long run. If you have a high employee turnover rate, conduct exit surveys to see what is wrong.
Pitfall 5: Being Afraid to Spend Money
While proper employee engagement often comes from more than just money, you have to be willing to spend some to see real results. Employees need to feel valued, and since employee engagement has monetary value, you should start to think of employee engagement initiatives as investments. You cannot run a successful company if you are repeatedly reluctant to spend money on your workforce. Your employees will soon notice your hesitation to invest in them.
Instead You Should: Set aside a small part of your budget for engagement initiatives. Whether you spend it on company events, bonuses, or a gamification app, find some way to show your employees that you care whether they feel valued or not.