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Managing Employees

Are Your Employees Engaged? 4 Reasons Workers Become Disengaged.

December 5, 2012

happy employeeTake a critical look around your shop floor and offices. Do your employees look like they care about their work? Do they often come to you with ideas and suggestions? Do they consistently arrive on time or even a little early? Is absenteeism in the normal-to-low range? Are they willing put forth extra effort when necessary? If you can say “yes” to all of these questions, congratulations on having a workforce that is engaged with your business.

On the other hand, if the reverse is true, you’re witnessing clear signs of employee disengagement. This problem affects many enterprises and the results include low productivity, high employee turnover and poor overall performance. In today’s highly competitive environment, no shop can afford to have employees who just show up and occupy space. So what can you do? Well first, you need to discover the root causes of the problem.

The most common reasons for employee disengagement are:

  1. Lack of job satisfaction. People need to feel a sense of accomplishment from their efforts. If you have employees who are unhappy with the kind of work they’re doing, they won’t feel that important sense of satisfaction. In which case you need to find out why they feel this way. Is it because they’re bored with a repetitious job? Then maybe you can add some variety to their day by having them work on multiple projects. Or, if they are capable, perhaps you can move them into a more challenging role with greater responsibilities. Unfortunately sometimes an employee is simply not a good fit with the job they are doing. In this case you must decide if there is a better place for them in your organization, or if it would be better for them to move on to another company. Of course, first you need to have a frank and open discussion to determine which course of action is in everyone’s best interests. 
  2. Not understanding the big picture. Some employees simply don’t see any connection between their job and the success of the company. This is a failure of management. It’s vitally important for your people to understand that what they do on the job matters to the entire organization, and the ways in which they personally benefit from the company’s success. This means that management must continuously communicate the organization’s goals and the importance of each employee’s participation for the good of the whole. 
  3. Lack of appreciation. When the company is successful it’s important that everyone who contributed is recognized and shares in the success. Bonuses and other monetary awards are always welcome, of course, but many people appreciate other forms of recognition including awards, celebrations, and prizes. And don’t overlook the importance of a sincere “thank you,” which is an often underrated form of appreciation.
  4. Dysfunctional company culture. It all begins at the top. If the leaders of the company don’t create a positive work environment through good communications, employee appreciation and a willingness to share the rewards of success, it’s not likely that the majority of employees will remain engaged for any length of time. Ebenezer Scrooge (before his transformation) is not a good role model for the modern business owner or manager.

Hopefully, your employees are well engaged and satisfied with their place in your company. If not, it’s in your best interest, and that of your employees, to address the issue as soon as possible.