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To Engage or To Disengage: The Employer’s Choice

Posted on May 29, 2016 4:00 pm;

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By Cheryl Lyon-Hislop


There are lots of discussions in boardrooms about employee engagement, and that’s no surprise.

People are the most valuable asset of an organisation and to maximize effectiveness of this asset,

employees need to be fully engaged in the business. Unfortunately, disengaged employees neither

care about their jobs, nor see the success of their employer as relevant to them. This immediately

puts their organisations at a competitive disadvantage. In this blog, we’ll explore some examples of

practices which will help to switch your employees ‘on’, rather than ‘off’!


Employees do not want to feel like outsiders in their own company. Helping employees to

understand the business’s direction and culture and how they fit into the company, will help them

to purposefully contribute to their organisation. The nature of the work undertaken, i.e. carrying out

responsible duties, with development and identified career paths, will not only boost motivation

levels, but will deepen the emotional connectivity the employee feels for the organisation. Why

would you want to leave when there such a pull? Without exception, motivational and cultural fit

are areas which should be explored at the hiring stage to minimize poor organisational fit.


Furthermore, if employees feel they are an integral part of the company’s success, they will be

more likely to build respectful and assertive relationships, bonding easier with their managers and

teams, whilst promoting a culture of honesty and two-way communication. Explain how objectives

link back to strategy, reward performance fairly, allowing decent rewards and timely recognition.

When there is no fear of reprisal when discussing issues, they can be nipped in the bud, rather than

being allowed to fester into cynicism and negativity. Negativity will only contribute to the attrition of

your more talented and more engaged employees, who’ll seek a more favorable working

environment elsewhere.


If mundane or repetitive work is a feature of jobs, e.g. in call centers, then think of ways to engender

fun and team-working, by introducing competitions, job enrichment and job rotation, to allow

development of skills and knowledge, and to reward those who deliver targets.


Using a mix of metrics will help you to more accurately pinpoint what is wrong, and remember to

focus on issues which can negatively affect a business, such as customer retention, teamwork,

innovation and morale. It is so easy just to focus on ‘hard metrics’ to measure the success of

engagement. Increased profits, lower costs, increased market share are important, alongside

turnover, absenteeism, and customer service satisfaction surveys. However, organisations need to

consider “softer” responses, such as increased morale and motivation, lower stress and tension

levels. Development actions need to have leadership commitment and clear communication of

progress against actions.


For many companies, it’s a struggle to keep employees engaged. If you listen to their concerns, take

on ideas and promote a culture of trust and positive action, you are part-way there!

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