When new hires hit the scene, they tend to be hopeful and optimistic. Better pay, career development, benefits—the future looks bright and shiny.
However, day after day, small things continue to stack up and build upon one another. Eventually that platform grows to be so high that the employee chooses to jump ship either mentally (they are disengaged) or physically (they quit).
Employee disengagement does not happen overnight; it is a process. In this post, we will look at how it happens and what you can do to keep it from happening to your employees.
Why Employees Leave
That once enthusiastic employee often degrades to a point of disengagement because they lack a feeling of:
Depending on where any given employee is in his or her career, they may need further support in one or more of these four areas.
Management and leadership tend to fail them, however, in one or more of the following ten ways:
- Poor Management
Lack of constructive feedback (see our How To Give Feedback series for structuring an effective cadence for feedback), recognition, and one-on-one time are key traits of poor management.
- Lack of Career Growth and Advancement Opportunity
Employees feel “stuck” in their jobs. They are unable to voice where they would like to go within the company, and they are not given the opportunity to improve their skills (i.e. through mentorship, training, etc.).
- Poor Communication
Not only are employees often completely unaware of how well they are performing, but they are unsure of their actual job role. Leaders that build cultures of innovation excel at communicating effectively to all their employees.
This basic point in the employee engagement hierarchy must be met in order for an employee to continue moving up the hierarchy and become more engaged.
- Lack of Recognition
Employees who feel valued will continue to work hard to impress leadership. Those who are not recognized as a contributor will eventually stop trying. Here’s a great post on how to drive innovation and engagement through incentives.
- Poor Senior Leadership
The employees of the twenty-first century want transparency. This includes having contact with senior leadership, being kept in the loop about future development and goals, and so on.
- Lack of Training
Training allows employees to improve their skills or earn new ones that will help them move up within the organization. No training shows a lack of trust and value in the individual.
- Excessive Workload
Poor task delegation leaves some employees overburdened, overworked, and unsatisfied. This is particularly true if their hard efforts go unrecognized.
- Lack of Tools and Resources
Every employee wants to do his or her job right. Not having the tools or the resources to successfully complete the job reduces an employee’s job satisfaction and can leave them feeling powerless.
- Lack of Collaboration
Teamwork and camaraderie is a huge part of a great company culture today. Having a company where employees are more focused on the “I” in the work rather than the “we” makes employees feel alienated and alone.
Preventative Measures You Can Take
Engaging employees will likely cost company time and resources, but can your organization afford an actively disengaged employee?
A recent Gallup poll revealed that 52 percent of American employees were disengaged, with another 18 percent actively disengaged. That 18 percent alone costs the United States between $450 billion to $550 billion each and every year due to lack of productivity.
Employee engagement is not rocket science, though HR professionals continue to be challenged by it. The key is to encourage if not enforce two-way communication, and build from there. Here is how:
Begin with Middle Management
Your managers are the individuals who are responsible for employee well-being. They are there to guide, to encourage, and to inspire. Invest in your middle management and provide them with the training and coaching necessary to uplift employees. Create an environment where they feel their direct reports are appreciated and let them know that they too have room to grow within the organization.
Bring New Communication Tools to the Table
Ditch that tired old employee suggestion box (we all know it does not work anyway!) and instead begin coming up with different ways for two-way, real-time communication with employees. Employee engagement platforms are an excellent way of promoting and encouraging this type of dialogue between employees, management, and leadership. Whether leaving messages, engaging in live chats, or offering suggestions, these systems will streamline these tasks and make them more manageable and more actionable.