Often businesses believe their employees are engaged with their organization, only to find out much too late that they actually aren't.
Most employers understand the role of engagement in keeping retention and productivity levels high and driving down recruitment costs. But are employees being open and transparent about it? Many would be worried about the potential ramifications of outwardly saying they are unhappy about where they work.
This can make it difficult for companies to understand how engaged their employees are and, more importantly, what to do about it.
Reach out for ideas
Whether in a brainstorm session or as part of company updates, reaching out to staff for their ideas can be a good way of gauging how invested they are in the organization. If people are silent or have very little input, it's a big warning sign that they're not happy with the status quo. This may be because they don't feel as though their thoughts are listened to or that they don't plan on staying with your company in the long term; either way it should be concerning for you.
You need to ensure that all sessions where you are taking advice or questions from employees don't end when the meeting does. It's important that you follow up on promises you've made or questions you've been asked that you don't know the answer to right there and then. This will help instill confidence in your workforce and show that you're an employer who values them.
Keep an eye on social
Employees who are engaged with their company are likely to share successes you have online, while people who aren't may take out their frustrations on social. Keeping an eye on the social media accounts of your employees can be a good indication of how they feel about their jobs, and their employer.
Although you'd be within your rights to take disciplinary action against employees who badmouth you online, it can be a valuable way to start a conversation with your workforce. Maybe they're exposing an issue you didn't know existed? Is it a company culture problem? If this is the case, it's unlikely that they are the only one feeling that way. Instead of berating them, schedule a chat with them to discuss the matter and identify ways you can improve the situation for them and others. This can be an effective way of retaining your top talent.
Coasting in roles
Are employees doing the bare minimum? Just hitting targets and nothing more? Individuals that simply collect a paycheck aren't engaged in your business values and your organization as a whole. This is a key sign that they are planning on looking for other jobs in the near future, and that they could be passing on their negative feelings to their colleagues.
You need to lean on managers to get to the bottom of problems like these. If you have talent that you want to engage in your business, managers need to understand why they are unhappy in their role and identify ways that it could be resolved. You should also make progression schemes clear and achievable to give all employees something to work towards.
Lack of involvement in social activities
People love a night out, especially if their boss is paying, so if you're struggling to make up the numbers for company socials it could be a strong indicator that employees have become disengaged.
The best way to try and fix this problem is to start a conversation with your employees about what matters to them at work. This could be part of a wider discussion about company culture, which can help reignite engagement in individuals who have started to stagnate in their roles.