In today’s work environment, the concept of employee loyalty has changed. No longer does it simply mean an employee who does their job well without question or spends their entire career in one place. Loyalty has become a two-sided coin, with employers and employees working together to achieve their goals.
The term we use to refer to this is engagement. Employees motivated to do their jobs, solve problems, and want to contribute to future success for themselves and their companies demonstrate excellent engagement.
Online resources that offer advice on employee engagement are readily available. Companies that are doing all the right things, however, might be missing a key strategy element: how to identify when an individual employee is not engaged before it becomes a problem.
To analyze engagement, employees can be classified into three categories:
- Engaged: Employees are highly motivated and enjoy their work
- Not engaged: Employees simply do the expected
- Disengaged: Employees are actively unmotivated and obviously unhappy
Disengaged employees are easy to recognize. They lack motivation, have higher absenteeism, show little interest in their work, and often become counter-productive in the work environment. Companies often have policies and procedures on how to address acute disengagement.
Harder to determine, however, are the “not engaged” employees and the reasons why they are not engaged. Instead, companies need to remain attentive to warning signs that employee is not engaged and step in before the issue becomes truly disengaged and problematic.
Is Your Employee Performing At Their Best?
Even employees accomplishing their goals or hitting their numbers might not be engaged. The reasons can vary from a consistently good personal work ethic to lack of challenge–no point in trying to excel if the work is boring.
Discussions about work challenges, feelings about work, and general interest in company issues during performance evaluations or in informal settings might expose problems with engagement. Managers can use the results of these conversations to help find new and different ways for the employee to engage.
Does Your Employee Often Seem Distracted?
Chronic absenteeism is an easy number to notice for the disengaged, but for the non engaged, distraction can be an indicator. Work might be accomplished, but long breaks, extensive socializing, and using media for non-work purposes could indicate lack of challenge. Worse still, these behaviors can be a warning sign of procrastination that will eventually have an impact on performance.
Does Your Employee Appear to Care?
Enthusiasm can be a tough attribute to gauge. Not everyone vocally cheers when they succeed or expresses visible excitement. Discerning the difference between an introverted nature and an indifferent attitude takes knowing your employees on a personal level. If a company’s success isn’t perceived as an employee’s success, it might be time to investigate whether there’s an issue.
Is Your Employee Sharing Information and Curious When Others Do?
Employees who read about issues that can affect their job and company are often more engaged. They look beyond their desk to see the bigger picture. They also express an active interest when coworkers share information.
If an employee is doing neither, they might not be engaged. Check in with them to get a better understanding of their thoughts and concerns.
How To Address the Not Engaged Employee
If a company has implemented some kind of engagement strategy, but finds employees are not responding–indeed some 50% of employees can be considered not engaged–it is time to re-evaluate your engagement strategy.
Have Your Made Your Company Goals and Values Clear?
For any engagement strategy, communication is paramount. If your staff is not responding, examine how you have presented your company goals and values. Making a mission statement is not enough. Employees want to feel the reasoning behind the goals and values and see them demonstrated by their leadership. If leadership is not on board, employees won’t be either.
Do You Know The Best Performance Your Staff Can Offer?
Studies have shown that employees like to use their strengths and see those strengths recognized by their employers. Understanding your employees’ strengths and using them to the advantage of the company and the employee raises engagement. Get to know your employees as more than just staffers.
Are You Engaging With Your Staff?
Engagement is a mutual responsibility for leadership and staff. Asking questions, soliciting ideas and feedback, and showing interest in employee needs are crucial methods for raising engagement.
As leaders, you cannot know what the causes of a problem are without understanding the point of view of your staff. Reaching out to staff can be the tipping point between raising engagement and preventing actual disengagement.
Engagement is an ongoing process. Elevating the average performer to a highly engaged one takes time, attention, and interest from executive leadership. Employers need to move beyond focusing solely on the disengaged and instead pay attention to their entire staff.
Engage better with your employees – 15Five