Good employee retention is often hailed as a key indicator of a high-functioning organisation. After all, if employees are choosing to stay with an employer for many years, they must be doing something right. But it’s important for leaders to remember that a long-serving employee doesn’t automatically equate to a loyal and engaged employee. A 2018 Gallup report discovered that just 14 per cent of employees in Australia and New Zealand are engaged in their jobs, 71 per cent are not engaged and 15 per cent are actively disengaged. This ultimately translates to a significant loss of money for organisations as a result of increased absenteeism, reduced productivity and less profitability.
Gallup reported that the cost of disengagement to be 34% of an employee’s annual salary, which means it’s a problem well worth addressing. Here are four steps you can take to address employee disengagement in your workplace.
1. Know the signs
Employee engagement is classified in three ways; engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged. Unsurprisingly, those at either end of the spectrum are easiest to identify, whereas a “not engaged” employee can easily slip through the cracks. Some of the signs to look out for include:
- Lack of initiative taken
- Quiet and subdued in meetings and declining to contribute ideas and opinions
- A disinterest in further learning
- A drop in the amount and quality of work produced
- Antisocial, avoiding work events and communal areas in the office
- Arriving late and/or leaving early
- Disinterested in new career opportunities or projects
2. Listen and motivate
More than 89% of HR leaders found that ongoing feedback and employees and check-ins are crucial for successful outcomes. Regular appraisals and performance reviews, which set out clear KPIs and employer expectations, help to keep employees motivated and driven in the workplace. It’s also an opportunity to recognise the good work they’ve achieved and discuss future progression within the company, including pay increases and bonuses.
Alongside providing feedback, employers must find the time to listen to their employees, find out what they want from the role and listen to their concerns. When employees feel like their voice is heard they are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
Employees spend 16% of their working week feeling bored either because the work itself isn’t interesting, they have too many meetings to attend or the role is lacking in variety and diversity. In Australia, workers spend an average of six hours each week disengaged from their job due to boredom. Employers can easily address these problems by providing opportunities for teams to work on different projects, assigning additional responsibilities and reevaluating the necessity and frequency of workplace meetings. It’s also important for employees to understand how their role fits into the business as a whole, so they can see that the work they do has purpose and meaning.
In today’s workplace, employees expect to have a good work-life balance, to be able to work on their own terms and to build meaningful relationships with their colleagues and managers. To foster a flexible working environment, employers should permit different working hours and environments that accommodate employees in different circumstances such as working parents or those with long commutes. One study found that 89% of workers at companies that support well-being initiatives are likely to recommend their company as a good place to work. Employers should also advocate for fair working hours, lunch breaks and time spent away from desks.