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Solving the Employee Engagement Crisis

Solving the Employee Engagement Crisis


Why some workers ‘unplug’ and how to get them reinvested in your company’s success.

When Deloitte Consulting asked HR and business leaders around the world about their top personnel concerns, one issue stood out: employee engagement.

About 87 percent of respondents listed lack of engagement as their top problem, up from 79 percent a year earlier, according to Deloitte’s “Global Human Capital Trends 2015” report.

And it looks like there truly is a problem in this area. In February, a Gallup survey found that only 32.9 percent of respondents were “actively engaged” in their work. About half of all workers were described as “not engaged,” and another 16.8 percent were “actively disengaged.”

Believe it or not, but those results—as discouraging as they are—are among the most positive that Gallup has recorded in the past three years.

Business owners need to be paying attention to this problem because disengaged workers don’t deliver the exceptional performances that small companies need to stay competitive. Disengaged employees can lead to increased turnover and lower productivity.

“As demand for talent picks up, the balance of power in business is rapidly shifting from the employer to the employee,” said Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

“Moreover, workers are becoming more mobile, contingent and autonomous, and as a result, harder to manage and engage. In this new world of work, organizations need to reimagine the way they manage people and come up with new, out-of-the-box ideas to make themselves relevant.”

What Can You Do About It?

It’s one thing to recognize that employee engagement is suffering. What can small business owners do to actually improve the situation? Deloitte recommends the following strategies:

Measure  // You can’t fix a problem until you really understand it. That’s why experts suggest using surveys and other tools to get feedback from employees. A good HR professional can help you create and interpret your own survey.

Prefer to do it yourself? You might check out this free tool (www.surveymonkey.com/mp/employee-engagement-survey/) created by SurveyMonkey and the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation.

Simplify // One reason employees “check out” is because they’re overwhelmed by heavy workloads and always-on email. Some companies have tried to fix the problem by reducing interruptions during the workday and during personal time. They adopt policies that discourage workers from checking emails after hours. Or they push managers
to call meetings only when necessary.

Others have taken a harder look at their daily operations to remove steps in some standard procedures. Investing in better, more efficient software and technology could help here, too.

Prioritize // You as the boss have to emphasize the importance of employee engagement, whether you have two workers or 200. You need to hold your managers and yourself accountable for creating an environment that brings out the best in your personnel. In some cases, that could mean a more hands-on role in coaching workers and providing them feedback on how they’re doing and how they can get better.

Want to learn more about employee engagement and other top HR concerns? Check out Deloitte’s “Global Human Capital Trends 2015” report in full at bit.ly/1ALJJgL.

James Hart

Written by

James Hart is a freelance writer based in Kansas City.

Categories: HR


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