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Why Aren’t Your Employees Engaged?

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You’re thinking about the state of your business and wondering why your employees aren’t engaged. If so, you aren’t alone – it’s a question often on the mind of business leaders.

Engagement is critical, and according to a Harvard Business Review report, 71% of surveyed respondents said employee engagement is very important to overall success for the organization. Even so, only 24% of those respondents described their employees as highly engaged.

A few other statistics, as cited by Rymax, include:

  • A 10% improvement in employees’ connection with a company’s mission could mean an 8.1% decrease in turnover and a 4.4% increase in profitability.
  • The rate of churn for employees who aren’t engaged is 12 times higher than engaged employees in a year.
  • Employees who are disengaged cost anywhere from $450 to $550 billion annually.

Employee engagement is a prime area of focus for a lot of innovative businesses, especially as the focus moves away from lowering costs and toward investing in growth.

Even if you can recognize the importance of employee engagement, it might not be as simple to see why in your specific organization, it’s something that’s a problem.

The following are some of the reasons employees aren’t engaged, and some red flags you can watch for to help you identify the issues.

Lack of Knowledge or Understanding

When employees don’t feel like they have the knowledge or understanding to do their jobs well, they’re going to lack engagement. Too often, employers underestimate the value of onboarding as well as ongoing training and development.

Employees who are equipped with what they need to perform in their positions are more likely to be engaged, and that’s going to bring benefits to the entire organization.

There needs to be a systemic, organization-wide focus on learning and development along with buy-in at all levels as far its importance for improved employee engagement.

Poor or Inconsistent Leadership

There are so many situations where company leaders might recognize a problem that exists within their organization, but they don’t look at themselves as far as the potential root of the problem.

Employees respond to leadership, whether good or bad.

Along with potentially negative or toxic leadership, inconsistency in terms of leadership can be problematic for employee engagement as well.

Whether leadership is lacking in some way or is inconsistent, employees might respond with frustration and a sense of discomfort. There can also be fear in some cases, which can impact engagement as well.

Employees need to know that they can expect firm but fair, positive, and consistent leadership across the board. Otherwise it can be a distraction that’s detrimental to engagement and as a result, productivity as well.

Along with toxic or inconsistent leadership, a lack of transparency and communication are problems that start at the top and influence engagement.

Lack of Clear Objectives or Goals

In your mind, as a business leader, you may see your employees as disengaged. For employees, the problem may not be disengagement, but rather they don’t know what’s expected of them. What are the objectives for employees and what are goals for performance? How do employees fit into larger business goals?

These areas need to be clear to employees, and they need to be measurable.

Along with specific goals and objectives, employees should know the corporate vision. Employees want to feel like they fit into something larger and something that’s positive. Without a corporate vision, it’s impossible for them to feel that way.

No Opportunities for Advancement

There is no way to keep employees engaged in their job for the most part if they don’t feel like they can advance. Employees need to feel like there are not only opportunities for growth and advancement at their employer, but also that they can achieve advancement.

For an engaged workforce, show them you are investing in their development. This is one more way increasing your investments into learning and development can yield a more engaged workforce overall.

Finally, there’s another reason your employees might not be engaged. They might not feel seen, heard or valued. Employees need all of these things to thrive, and they’re easy and inexpensive to provide, yet many companies still fail to ensure employees are heard and appreciated.

Employee recognition and appreciation should go along with various ways employees can provide their own feedback.

If you don’t see your employees or they feel like you don’t, they’re not going to be giving you their best work. Your level of engagement with your employees can be reflected in their level of engagement with their work.