Companies in the US are now facing one of the biggest problems they have ever encountered in modern history—the Great Resignation. It all started in April this year when thousands of workers in the leisure and hospitality industries left their jobs. As the months wore on, many more from the tech and healthcare sectors followed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20 million workers resigned from their jobs from April to September.
Experts believe the pandemic is to blame for the Great Resignation. While it is mainly true, experts have observed a steady rise in employee turnover for the past decade. However, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) emphasized that no matter the reason and time for employees’ mass quitting, it’s vital for companies to focus on employee engagement to counteract the problem.
To maintain operations, survive despite many challenges, and thrive amid economic disruptions, businesses rely on the commitment and engagement of their workers. Disengaged employees tend to leave their jobs, as the pandemic has shown. Companies need to take steps to connect their employees with what they care about their work. At the same time, they need to make work more enjoyable and less stressful. They should also provide financial incentives and additional off from work.
Nonetheless, they can achieve all of these with an improved employee engagement strategy.
Differentiating Employee Engagement and Job Satisfaction
One of the main reasons companies miss the mark on employee engagement is the lack of understanding of the subject. It is often used interchangeably with job satisfaction when in fact, the two are different disciplines. While they are related at some points, various factors influence each of them.
The level of employee engagement in an organization relates to factors that cannot be controlled, such as employee recognition, job development, leadership trust and confidence, and company culture. These elements make employees engaged and thus, become motivated, invested, passionate, and connected with their work, co-workers, and the company they work for. This means that employee engagement strategies encourage workers to commit their energy, time, and talent to help companies reach their business goals.
On the other hand, job satisfaction in a company relates to factors that can be controlled, such as job security, benefits, and salary. These elements make employees feel gratified, pleasant, and content.
How to Identify Disengaged Workers
Identifying disengaged workers is your first step in enhancing employee engagement. HR experts determine the level of employee engagement based on behavior and emotions. Typically, these levels are categorized as actively engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged.
Actively engaged workers are those who are productive and loyal. They are adept with their work and are enthusiastic about what they do. Idle employees perform with average efforts, meaning they know how to achieve their jobs but are not motivated to do it. Sometimes, they don’t know how to accomplish a task but are not interested in learning it. Actively disengaged, meanwhile, are employees who are not interested whatsoever in their job.
In general, though, employees can be grouped into two levels of engagement: engaged and disengaged.
Engaged employees show optimism, involvement, selflessness, and enthusiasm for learning. They are team and solutions-oriented. Thus, they go above and beyond the demands of their job. Often, they pass along credit for their work to others but accept blame when problems occur.
Disengaged employees show the behavior of the exact opposite. They are pessimistic, self-centered, egocentric, and disinterested. They are often absent from work and unwilling to participate in company events.
However, it’s important to note that disengaged employees started as engaged workers. You’ll notice the change when for example, previously enthusiastic employees suddenly ran out of ideas to contribute. They clock in at nine in the morning and leave their job at exactly five, unwilling even to make quick chit-chat with co-workers. If they do, they tend to complain about their work.
Unfortunately, engaged employees changed because of different factors that affect employee engagement.
What Factors Affect Employee Engagement?
Engagement drivers are sourced from the organizational and management levels. Employees look to company leaders for motivation, confidence in the company, and acknowledgment of company culture. They also rely on their supervisors and the work equipment provided by the company to accomplish their tasks. This could mean that engagement can increase if employees have good relationships with their co-workers, supervisors, and company leaders.
As a manager, you should take proactive steps in building good relationships with your staff. For example, you can bond with your team through a shared hobby like fishing. Invite them to a fishing trip and show off your Penn Battle 3 Spinning Reel.
Employee Engagement Initiatives
The HBR has also highlighted the need to identify disengagement and who among your employees are showing it. Use what you’ve learned from here on how to identify disengaged employees. Your next step now is to develop and establish measures to increase employee engagement in your company.