Managing employees requires a number of skills, but in the age of digital distractions, the ability to keep employees engaged has become more important than ever. The truth is that very few people are fully engaged from in to out, but when a worker is disengaged daily for long periods of time, it can cause problems for employers and customers.
What does commitment mean?
In a work environment, employee engagement means that an employee actively participates in the tasks at hand. While someone may be able to get the job done without being actively engaged, lack of attention to a task can lead to mistakes. Employees disengage for a number of reasons, including not feeling valued in the workplace or being weighed down by too much work or too many meetings that seem unnecessary.
As noted above, digital distractions like smartphones and social media have become a big deal for the modern workplace, and these distractions are causing disengagement across all types of industries.
The problem with digital distractions is that they only take a short amount of time to use each time, but those little things add up to a lot of non-committal time spent during the workday.
Does it matter if employees are not engaged at work?
You might think that the biggest problem with an unengaged employee might be lost productivity, but the problem actually goes deeper than that. Someone who doesn’t feel engaged at work is likely to drag others down with them.
When this happens, it can lead to extra work that others have to do because an employee has lost motivation and interest, but it can also lead to a disengaged employee making demoralizing comments or taking actions that degrade the atmosphere of the entire workplace.
This can then have a domino effect as other employees begin to lose focus and disengage themselves. Before you know it, your entire workforce could become a problem, driving the need for more intensive employee engagement programs.
Employee Engagement Ideas and Strategies
To limit engagement issues, some companies have created the engagement manager role. This person is responsible for creating an engagement plan along with strategies specifically designed to target unique issues causing distractions and disengagement in the workplace.
Your employee engagement strategy will depend on where you do business, your industry, your employees, and a host of other factors unique to your situation. Not all companies face the same engagement challenges, and every employee has different needs in different contexts.
Despite this, some employee engagement strategies have proven effective in the majority of industries and workplaces. For example, gamification of work-related tasks has proven effective in engaging employees. By using this strategy, you turn everyday tasks into a game or friendly competition. By gamifying work tasks, employees are incentivized to stay engaged.
Speaking of incentives, offering incentives to stay engaged has also been shown to increase employee engagement. You can offer things like special discounts on company products or services to employees for completing tasks early or you can provide a financial incentive for finding certain hidden keywords in tasks.
The whole point of incentivizing your employees’ work day is to give them a reason to stay focused. However, if you find that engagement is an ongoing issue, you are encouraged to take a closer look at why employees are losing focus in the first place.
Is there anything you could change about certain tasks to help your employees focus? Is there something in your company culture that leads to a lack of engagement? Perhaps some changes could be made to your workspace to help your employees feel more engaged.
The costs of not having an engagement strategy
Whatever the cause, it’s important to find solutions to engagement issues. It’s estimated that employees who aren’t engaged can end up costing employers about 34% of each worker’s annual salary. Depending on how much you pay each employee and the number of employees in your business, this can amount to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars per year.
Another thing to consider is that the cost savings from switching to remote work can be seriously compromised by engagement issues. A study found that 40% of employees working from home suffer from burnout as a result of virtual meetings throughout the day. Think about it: potentially four out of 10 remote workers are disconnecting and doing less because of management decisions.
All of this means that having the right plan in place is imperative to reaping the full benefits of your employees’ productivity. By addressing engagement issues early, your business has a better chance of reducing distractions and burnout before they lead to significant costs.
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