Lagging Employee Engagement? Four Ways to Fix It

Employee engagement is often a challenging thing to get right, especially long term. But a focus on cultural needs and offering the right resources could help rekindle a flagging employee’s mojo.

The key to executing your mission is strategy, leadership, and overall drive.

But if your employees are flagging, you might find the execution loses something along the way. So how do you keep your team on the right track? A few strategies worth considering:

Hire for engagement. It sounds obvious that bringing on already engaged employees is a natural way to ensure that you get good results. But having a strategy that is built with that in mind might be the way to ensure better long-term results, says consultant Richard Ellison, who recommends a structured approach in a Forbes article. “Pay attention to personal factors, such as their level of motivation, the way they would respond to example situations, the level of priority they placed on their career and your feeling for how well they would fit into your company’s culture,” he says. In his case, this often meant that 70 to 80 percent of employees weren’t a fit for the role, but those that were tended to be less likely to leave.

Show a willingness to invest in your employees. If an employee feels like they’re languishing in their role, without much room for improvement or growth, that can have a damaging effect on how much they’re willing to put into the job. As Kate Heinz states on the tech employment site Built In, nearly all employees (94 percent, according to a LinkedIn study) are more likely to stick with a job they like if they feel they are getting that kind of investment from their employer. “Providing employees opportunities to grow their skill set keeps them engaged, and having something to work toward keeps them motivated,” Heinz states. “Not only that, but learning and development initiatives demonstrate that you value your employees as individuals—you choose to continually invest in your people, rather than replace employees with candidates that have the skills you desire.”

Focus on the team. If your organization just seems like a bunch of individuals doing separate tasks, rather than a cohesive unit, that sense of purpose can feel easily lost, Hult International Business School faculty members Amy Bradley and Sharon Olivier state in a Harvard Business Review article based on recent research they conducted. In one case, a staff of nurses struggled with team-based duties, even as they cared deeply about the broader mission. “The ward’s management had been unaware of these problems because they had focused on the team’s successful top-line engagement numbers, none of which measured teamwork,” the authors wrote. “To avoid this myopia and correct for its oversight, leaders should build metrics for team success and explicitly name team duties in individual job descriptions.”

Give them the tools they need to succeed. Do you have employees working on too-slow laptops and struggling to get the assets that allow them to do their work? It could be discouraging them from being as effective as they could be, notes Thrive Global’s Asma Williams. “By making use of the right tools, your employees will find it easy in performing their duties efficiently while also saving on time. However, this does not mean purchasing any tools and equipment that you think might work,” she writes. “You will have to keep pace with the changes in technology by making use of high quality and modern software or any other equipment that can serve you effectively.”

(Maria Casinos/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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