Even with the best of intentions, some of the methods chosen to improve employee engagement can backfire. Employee engagement can improve retention, strengthen a company culture and increase productivity, but all that quickly is ruined when any of these seven deadly sins is committed.
Engagement before and after the onboarding process
“New hires can’t be disengaged; they just got here,” said no “best company” ever. Those who know better realize addressing employee engagement starts before day one. The origins of commitment happen during the interview process. Your job candidate is evaluating you as much as you are evaluating them.
Did the interviewer begin on time, was he or she prepared and gracious? Or, was the interview an afterthought and chaotic? Top talent will recognize how much intention you put into the interview preparation. The interview experience often speaks of company culture and sets expectations for employee engagement.
The onboarding process can be stressful for any new hire. With new information flooding their inbox, a new hire easily can become overwhelmed. New hire anxiety can be mitigated by training your managers with the best onboarding and engagement strategies in order to avoid an onslaught of information on day one.
Bottom line: If your company is ignoring early signs of a stressed employee, there’s a chance you have an engagement problem.
Don’t reward employees with pay alone
It’s been said that “money motivates,” but have you ever stopped to consider the effect it really has? Several surveys through the years indicate money is not a leading contributor for employee motivation.
Higher drivers include:
- peer motivation
- the intrinsic desire to do a good job
- encouragement and recognition
- having a real impact
While it may be easy to give a bonus for a job well done, it’s not always the best option. Even some of the highest-paid individuals aren’t satisfied at work.
To improve engagement, show more appreciation with the proper thanks employees want and need.
Don’t use intimidation to get results
We are impatient creatures by nature. Thanks to advances in technology, we are empowered to feel this way. When employees aren’t picking up a task quickly enough or things aren’t going as planned, it’s easy to feel as if intimidation will be effective.
But often, intimidation does more harm than good. Your employees want to feel safe, not like they are walking on eggshells. Leave your frustration at the door; there are far better behaviors for improving engagement.
Give attention when needed
Not every employee requires your attention. Highly engaged employees are likely in a good headspace and don’t need the extra push. However, certain employees require more attention, especially new hires.
Don’t expend all your energy on someone who isn’t in need; this only wastes his or her time and yours. Closely monitor your workforce to determine where your attention is needed, as this will change from time to time.
Don’t let issues play out how they will
There will be times when employees disagree with one another; however, if there is tension to any situation, management must step in. The fate of the argument cannot be left to chance. Employees, for the most part, can solve problems on their own, but tension is a completely different beast and, if handled improperly, can be detrimental to engagement. Not only that, ignoring festering employee issues could lead the company into terminating valuable talent or become involved in expensive and time-consuming litigation. At the very least, you could spend a large amount of your time and brainpower filling out paperwork or mediating in the HR conference room.
Don’t survey employees without a communication plan
Surveys can be extremely beneficial if conducted properly. If you want to fix a problem with engagement, your best bet is to ask employees what they need and how you can do better. But don’t stop there.
The most important piece of the survey process is sharing the results. Letting employees know the outcome is important to the credibility of the survey. If they feel nothing will come of it, they are less likely to answer honestly or at all.
For optimum results, implement corrective action. If there is an area of concern suggested by the results, communicate that and then have a plan to change it. Better yet, ask employees their thoughts on how to remedy the situation.
Don’t engage employees without technology
Personalized service is indeed an admirable trait in any business, especially when it comes to employee engagement. Employees respect and respond well to face-to-face interactions, but that’s not to say that HR technology can’t help improve engagement.
Popular software tools, such as employee self-service portals, take center stage in companies around the nation, and the benefits that come with them extend to employee engagement.
Employees are less likely to become disengaged when they can enroll in benefits, view pay stubs, submit time-off requests, take training courses, and access and sign reviews online – all from the comfort of home. Everything they need is at their fingertips, and that is a game changer.
Employee engagement certainly is worth addressing, so don’t give in to any of these temptations. Avoiding the aforementioned will keep your organization’s culture from going six feet under.