An engaged employee works with passion and feels a profound connection to their company. They are committed to your organisation and strive to embody the core value of your business to reach the goals and targets that ensure success. However, only 18% of the Australian workforce is actively engaged, leaving more than 80% of all Australian workers disengaged in some aspect with the work they are performing. Disengaged employees are one of the biggest issues that your business can face, with the Gallop Organisation estimating that actively disengaged employees cost Australian businesses between AUS$33.5-$42.1 billion per annum.
Jacob Morgan stated for Forbes that the biggest cost of employee disengagement was that we live in 2016, and yet we are still working in 1970. Businesses have failed to evolve and with the new world of work resulting in even more changes to how people will be employed and work, it’s crucial that businesses adapt to ensure that employees remain engaged. A team who is working together to succeed will reach their goals faster than a team divided and distracted.
A disengaged employee can be recognised by a number of signs, however if you really stop and consider each employee, you should be able to recognise those who are working for the benefit of the business with their whole focus.
A disengaged employee may…
Lack initiative – if an employee has no ideas of their own, and waits to be told what to do, does just what was asked of them and no more, they may be disengaged. An engaged employee will recognise the challenge, look to fill in their time gaps, and come up with ideas which are creative and original.
Lack of learning – while an engaged employee will show progress, building upon experience and taking opportunities as they come to continue to grow and learn, a disengaged employee may remain stagnant, feeling as though they have the skills and knowledge to perform their job as described and not seeking advancement.
Use social media – This is something that everyone tends to be guilty of, a quick peek at Facebook when you have work waiting for you, but a disengaged employee is likely to use social media in excess, whether it’s due to boredom or a lack of interest in their work, but they would rather sit and refresh the feed on their phone.
Lack enthusiasm and complain – Attitude is a major warning sign as to whether your employee is engaged. An engaged employee will be enthusiastic about the challenges and developments that they need to undertake, approaching each task positively, whereas a disengaged employee is likely to complain about the work, seemingly unwilling or disenchanted by the effort they consider will be required to reach the goal.
Fail to interact and be a team player – Company culture is an essential part of business. A group of people who get along and can work together helps to ensure harmony and productivity in the office. A disengaged employee can throw this harmony off as they fail to interact and be a team player. Anti-social behaviour, including gossiping, refusing to take part in discussions within the office and even not taking part in team building social activities after work hours, can cause a rift within your team.
These are just some of the identifying traits of a disengaged employee, however the real question is how to ensure employee engagement.
Firstly, it’s important to consider the leaders in the office. Leaders who are personally involved in the business, and are able to recognise and acknowledge the achievements of their employees are more likely to have engaged employees working under them for the benefit of their business. Office culture starts with the leader, a leader who actively encourages a sense of community and team, and fosters the team relationships may help prevent an employee becoming disenchanted and antisocial within the team environment.
It’s essential to keep employees entertained, don’t let their minds go idle, but rather challenge them to continually improve themselves. Always look for ways that a business can improve, make sure to interact and ask your employees for ideas. Allowing an employee to own their own work, and recognise potential new areas where they can grow, or ideas that they can execute for their business, is likely to create greater engagement as they feel a more personal connection.
Ensuring that there is consistency in your brand can also help ensure that your employees are engaged. What a business promises and what the business actually delivers need to measure up, otherwise employees won’t completely be able to buy into and trust the brand that they are working under.
It’s also important to create a flexible environment. Some employees may thrive with rigidity, but others crave a more flexible timetable. Being able to recognise the idiosyncrasies of your own employees and being able to alter your approach to suit them individually will help to ensure their engagement in their work.
There also needs to be opportunities for advancement, a position which offers very few opportunities to advance will leave your employees looking elsewhere and distract them from the work they are doing for you.
No matter how you decide to ensure that your employees remain engaged, embrace the step into ‘The New World of Work’, you and your company will benefit from the increased dedication and creativity, as well as improving the culture of the office, ensuring that every single person looks forward to walking through the door to work each morning.
To learn more about Pendragon’s ‘New World of Work’ download the e-book today