To Engage or To Disengage: The Employer’s Choice
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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
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!