Wednesday 27th May 2020
Engagement is just one part of getting the most out of an individual, but it is worth taking the time to nurture it, as it can be the difference between an unproductive employee and an incredibly valuable one. You might not be able to change the raw aptitude of a person, but you can certainly influence how enthusiastic they are about their work. In this article, we are going to take a brief look at just how important engagement can be, by considering the various levels of engagement that you might expect, and the impact this has.
At the worst level, you have employees that are actively disengaged with the work that they are doing. They do the bare minimum to get by in their day to day role, they’re not willing to take on any tasks that they’re not directed to do, and in some cases they can even be so disengaged that they cause severe issues within teams. These people can often make costly mistakes and take up the time of other employees. They may even attempt to cover up their shortcomings, and see their employment as only a temporary measure, which means a serious drop in productivity and effectiveness.
Disengaged or uninterested
The intermediary grouping of employees will be those that are not engaged with the business in so far as they have no feeling of investment into the business or what they are doing. Unlike those that are actively disengaged, this does not mean that they aren’t doing their job properly. Indeed, many millions of employees will be moderately disengaged while otherwise appearing to be solid employees. Think of casual workers, those that don’t involve themselves in company events, those that don’t have friendships with other employees. However, these individuals could certainly be doing much better, and if you can push them up into the next bracket, you will see productivity increase, as well as better quality work, and even new ideas.
And then at the top, we have engaged employees. In an ideal world, everyone in the organisation would be a part of this grouping. Employees that are engaged in the work that they do will be willing to go above and beyond every day, and see their labours as an investment with attractive end goals. New ideas and new ways of improving the business often come from these people - not necessarily senior management. Engaged employees will hit their targets, exceed them, and be proud of the work that they do and the company they work for.
How do you boost engagement?
Boosting engagement is not always an easy task, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution where it may be lacking. In some instances, it can be as simple as money. Employees that feel they are underpaid are naturally going to be less invested in their work. Other common detractions include employees who don’t enjoy their work because there’s a skills mismatch, they don’t share the company’s values, or they’re not proud of the good and services provided.
Engagement surveys are often seen as a great way of figuring out how to increase engagement - they pick up all the different reasons that people might think that they are not fully invested. This will be anonymous, but it is far better than trying to guess at why engagement levels are not high across the business. The important thing to remember however is that you will need to tailor things to some degree. Individuals have different values, and different reasons to be engaged or disengaged. Work with them to figure out how to give them that feeling of investment.