Much like a chain, a team is only as strong as its weakest link. All it takes is one member of it to withdraw before their disengagement affects everyone else. At which point, the productivity and efficiency becomes extremely difficult to instil and then maintain. On the employee side of things, meanwhile, it can cause retention to take a knock, as disillusioned team members seek for new job opportunities elsewhere.
Thankfully, rectifying things isn’t impossible. You just need to give them reasons to re-engage with their duties. Along with why team engagement might be dipping at the minute, we’ll take a look at the importance of engaging employees and the strategies you can use to improve employee engagement going forward.
The tasks of managing a team
As well as their own sector-specific duties, there are plenty of broader responsibilities that any manager has to attend to in their day-to-day, including the following:
- Setting goals that align with business objectives
- Setting personal goals for individual team members
- Training and developing individuals’ skills
- Managing conflict effectively
- Providing constructive feedback
- Establishing a positive team culture
And that’s just to name a few. Factor in their own role-related duties, and it’s easy to see how a manager could spread themselves so thinly it makes engaging their team more of a challenge. Below, we’ll offer up a few more reasons why employees may start to disengage from their duties.
Why your team members aren’t engaging
Other common reasons for dwindling team engagement include:
- They don’t believe that what they do is important and valued
- They don’t feel empowered to contribute to the team and company as a whole
- Their needs aren’t being met in terms of support, resources and information, professional development and flexibility
- They themselves don’t feel valued by management
- They aren’t stimulated by their work
- They haven’t been given autonomy and independence
- Poor communication and feedback – or none at all
Why engaging employees is important
Employee engagement matters in a variety of different ways. And regardless of size, sector or financial standing, the same reasons apply across the vast majority of businesses.
Put simply, it’s employees who contribute to a business’ success. It’s an organisation’s people who are putting the work in to keep the company afloat. When a workforce lacks skills, passion and dedication, then the distance between a company and its success can start to widen.
A disengaged team can contribute to:
- Lower rates of retention
- Reduced employee productivity
- Higher absenteeism
- Employee dissatisfaction
- A weaker company culture
- Lower profitability
And clearly, no company would want any of these things to be woven into their day to day operations. So, let’s take a look at what managers can do to make sure they’re engaging employees throughout the week…
How to improve employee engagement
– Make feedback a priority
Employees won’t know how they’re performing and where to improve if they aren’t receiving regular feedback. Make it more routine by scheduling in check-ins, carrying out regular reviews and asking their direct reports how they’d prefer to receive feedback (such as in person or via emails).
Don’t forget to offer recognise hard work through rewards either.
– Get them out of their comfort zones
Nothing disengages an employee quite like when they’ve become too comfortable in their roles. So why not get them out of this comfort zone? Challenge them by assigning them new tasks or increasing workloads (providing they can take it on). Doing this shows you have belief in their skills, and they’ll be more inclined to perform to a higher level.
– Invest in training
The next logical step to the above is to invest in training and developing. Nobody wants to stagnate in their skills when at work, so by supporting them through training programs, mentoring and work-related courses, you’ll be ensuring they have a chance to add to their skill sets.
– Promote from within
Rather than advertising job openings on websites and LinkedIn, look to the talent you already have to fill those gaps. Promoting from within demonstrates your commitment to helping them advance in their career. It also shows that others who aren’t yet being considered for promotion know that their hard work pays off with a reward that’s in accordance with the effort they put in too. It’s an approach that can be a powerful motivator.
– Master the onboarding process
The outboarding process might not be something you’ve considered has a role to play in engagement, but those first few weeks are all important for new starters. Make sure they’re sticking around and feel valued from the get-go by optimising your onboarding. Talk to them about the workings of the team, the goals they have and the values of the company. Likewise, discuss the purpose and role they’ll have in the team. Doing so goes a long way towards illustrating the value they’ll bring to the company as a whole.
– Conduct frequent engagement surveys
Show you’re serious about improving team engagement by making it an ongoing thing. The team will appreciate you taking the time to hear them out, and it’ll also help you understand the things that are and aren’t working within the team. From your findings, you can then get to work on allaying their concerns through even more engagement-fostering approaches.
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