The COVID-19 pandemic brought on a lot of new challenges and exacerbated existing challenges within every company. Employees at every level have struggled - executives, managers and individual contributors alike. And lack of engagement and burnout has become rampant among the workforce.
Unsurprisingly, managers are the number one most burned-out employee group. Who can blame them when they’re dealing with talent shortages, and managing their people, all while looking out for the business objectives? This strain can quickly turn great managers into not-so-great managers, which can hasten the disengagement of your employees, making it even harder for your company to retain the talent that you have.
After all, as the saying goes, employees leave managers, not companies.
But sometimes it’s both.
You can’t afford to lose any employees when you’re already navigating a talent shortage. If you have burned-out managers who aren’t leading your employees well, they’ll likely disengage from the work they’re doing. They’ll become disconnected from your company and likely leave their positions.
But before they leave, they’ll disengage from the work that they’re doing— which may be the root cause for expensive costs that may not be on your radar.
Low employee engagement costs companies in the U.S. anywhere from 450-500 billion dollars annually, according to Berg Jackson. And employee engagement is low right now, worldwide.
Gallup's State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report.
A recent survey indicates that only 36% of employees are engaged at work in the United States. That means that 64% are not engaged. And not only that but some of that number are actively disengaged. According to Gallup’s research, actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy, “they are resentful that their needs aren’t being met and are acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers potentially undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.”
According to Stacy Berg Jackson in a session on increasing employee engagement at the SHRM Talent Conference, most employees can accomplish the tasks and requirements of their job with only 25% effort. That means the other 75% effort they can give is all discretionary! And if your employees don’t feel connected to your company’s mission why would they go the extra mile and give that extra effort.
When your company is faced with so many other challenges, the last thing you need is disengaged employees who may distract from company objectives or actively try to undermine your company’s mission.
Organizations that do employee engagement well see the returns: “Gallup’s engagement measures have proven… that employee engagement correlates strongly with positive performance outcomes, such as profitability, productivity, sales, safety and retention. And, Gallup has found that the importance of employee engagement to business outcomes increases during times of crisis.”
So what can you do to get employees engaged with your company?
Employees need purpose, clear goals and transparent leadership.
Some basic needs must be met as a foundation. For example, they’re not likely to be engaged with your company if they have to worry about making ends meet or paying their medical bills. So make sure your functional benefits are meeting your employees’ needs.
But there’s more than that.
Employees need to feel connected to the mission of your company in tangible ways. This means more than posting mission, vision and values statements on cafeteria walls. These qualities of your company need to be clearly and readily communicated by leadership and company materials at every turn. You must also guard against a feeling of empty values. If employees feel that the work they’re doing doesn’t match up with the company line, they will start to disengage. Ideally, employees will see corporate purpose shared frequently with examples that bring mission and values to life for them, rather than just hearing about these things in the abstract.
Make sure your company’s values are deeply entrenched in any regular internal messaging. Make it a part of your culture.
Finding a way to share those messages in a clear and easily digestible way can be challenging. Traditional messaging can feel superficial or false with only high-level executives sharing the perspective. Videos or recorded meetings can feel canned.
Now there’s WorkReels. With WorkReels you can include the voice of your workforce in messages on company mission, purpose or values by inviting your employees to help out. Not only does this provide sharable video content that anyone with the company can hear and view, but this may help all employees feel more connected with their team, their mission and your company!
See how WorkReels enhances employee engagement while producing amazing workplace videos. Start your free trial today.
A company’s employer brand is simply the perception people outside of a company have about what it’s like to work there – whether it’s accurate or not!