There is a clear relationship between employee engagement and business performance. Engaged employees are committed to your organization's values and goals. They care about their work and feel that their efforts make a difference. An engaged employee goes the extra mile to ensure your company grows and remains profitable. Engaged employees are great ambassadors of your company and brand. What happens, however, when your workforce is not engaged?
Recognising disengaged employees
As a manager, it is crucial to recognize signs of low engagement. Disengaged employees usually only do the bare minimum. They do not support the company's mission, vision, and goals. They are not concerned about the business's productivity or profitability and may not focus on customers' needs.
A disengaged workforce is characterized by:
- high rates of absenteeism
- ineffective collaboration
- lack of enthusiasm
- increased employee turnover
The consequence is a lack of productivity and poor performance. So as a company, you can't afford disengaged teams. The statistics in this Forbes article underscore the need to make engagement and wellness strategic priorities for your organization.
There are many reasons employees are not engaged, and there are several ways to counter low engagement. Still, the most effective game plan is changing your communication strategies. Communication is a critical part of creating and maintaining employee engagement. When there's a lack of (good) communication, engagement levels suffer.
Communication problems that impact engagement
Managers need to convey the information that employees need to get their work done and provide the mechanism for building and strengthening relationships at work. Here are a few communication problems that commonly affect the workplace:
Shortage of information
When people don't have the information or knowledge they feel they need, they become detached. Also, people tend to avoid situations where others see them as uninformed, not understanding, or lacking expertise.
Lack of transparency and honesty
Transparency is a considerable element of business communication. People like to know things. No one feels comfortable being surrounded by secrets and confidential information, especially in the workplace. You should make sure your employees know about vital company information, upcoming changes and important company decisions. Check out this interesting read on Hays on how to be open and honest with your employees in the new era of work.
Lack of bottom-up communication
Communication is a two-way street. You can only foster effective communication when there is a balance between expressing and listening. Asking questions, discussions, and inviting suggestions are integral parts of effective business communication. If employees feel that leaders are not approachable or if they lack the channels to voice their concerns, they will not feel included or valued. Implement bottom-up communication that encourages employees at all levels to contribute insight and ideas to internal dialogue.
Disorganized communication channels
It's good to have multiple means of communication because each person has their preferred way of communicating. Some people may prefer emails, others a face-to-face conversation, while some are more likely to engage with communication via social media. But suppose managers communicate through their preferred channels only, and those channels differ from manager to manager. In that case, it can become confusing for employees to know where to get all the information they need. As an organization, you must have clear directives on what to communicate where, so people know how to stay in the loop.
Provide employees with clear, consistent messages with the proper level of information. While core messages should be invariable across the organization, tailoring your messages to a segmented audience is considered good practice. If you provide employees with too much information that is also irrelevant to them, they will eventually check out. Your internal communication must be audience-centered, just like your external communication.
Measuring internal communication success
Want to increase employee engagement? Communicate. Connect. Allow feedback. Assess the success of your internal communication program. Make communication a core part of your culture. Keeping open communication with your employees will create trust and allow for a more engaged and ultimately more effective workforce.