Numerous reports and surveys regarding the status of worker engagement indicate that it has fallen to one of its lowest levels in recent history. The widespread reshuffling of jobs following the pandemic, the growing trend of what some refer to as “quiet quitting,” and the rise of short-term gig jobs, have all played a role in weakening the feelings of connection and engagement that workers feel to their work and to their employers. This has been particularly true of younger workers, who are experiencing some of the highest levels of job dissatisfaction and disengagement.
There are many reasons workers today give for why they feel disengaged from their work, and not every one of those reasons can be realistically solved by employers or workplace changes. However, keeping in mind some of the most common reasons people have for feeling checked out or uninspired can better guide management decisions so that people feel more included, valued, and challenged in all the right ways.
· Lack of clear expectations
· Lack of communication
· Too few opportunities for growth
· Lack of adequate tools to do the job
· Inflexible work schedule
While some people may be past the point of re-engaging their jobs, there are still many things business owners and managers can do to help build energy and get employees engaged. Some widely-recommended tips include:
· Provide quality training and development programs: Taking the time to help employees learn their jobs, mentoring them, and fostering their professional development and growth are steps that help prevent people from feeling inadequately prepared for their jobs or stuck in ones that go nowhere. Showing employees that their development and growth are valued can help them make a stronger investment in their positions and companies.
· Improve communication: Poor communication prohibits cohesion and meaningful collaboration; it can alienate workers from each other and create an environment of general distrust. Keeping team members connected, even if some are remote, and giving feedback frequently—as well as recognition for successes--create an atmosphere of productive communication.
· Offer flexible work schedules: Not every business can offer fully remote work options to all employees, but giving as much flexibility as possible gives workers maximum control over their work lives. Remote work is one option, but hybrid work, compressed workweeks, and self-scheduling are other options that might be possible and preferable for checked out or beleaguered employees.
· Ask employees to weigh in: No one knows better what would improve the working and team environment than the people who make up that team. Solicit input from employees on processes, changes, and decisions involving the direction of the company. People feel more engaged with a company whose success and direction they are invested in.
· Equip employees with the right tools: Not having the right tools to complete a job is not only frustrating, but creates large wastes of time that are resented. Tech tools for businesses have come a long way in simplifying and streamlining routine bookkeeping and administrative tasks, and they are no longer cost-prohibitive for small businesses. Investigating the right software for automating routine clerical work will not only save time and money in the long run, but will be appreciated by team members whose time is freed up from “busy work” to complete more satisfying and rewarding projects.
Improving employee engagement cannot be done overnight or by one strategy alone. The general malaise around a lot of employment today stands in the way of connecting people to companies and their missions. But some simple improvements to the company culture can be successful––and often accomplished at very little expense.