What to Do When Engagement Levels Drop

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HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

There are some sure-fire signs that engagement is dropping in your workplace. These include low-er productivity, targets being missed, whispering amongst employees, low morale, and a generally lower quality of work. All of which is bad for business! If you’ve started to notice that one or more members of your team seem disinterested with their work, it’s time to address the issue.

Article 4 Minutes

How do you tackle drops in engagement quickly and then begin to boost those engagement levels once again? Here is a mix of short and long term solutions you can apply to get things back on track.

1. Find out what’s going on

First and foremost, you need to find out what is actually going on. If staff are losing interest in their work and the company, there’s usually a good reason why and you need to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible. You could talk to your staff one-by-one, but this approach is time-consuming and employees might not always want to be honest with you face-to-face.

Instead, consider running an employee engagement survey. In this, you can ask employees to share their experiences, what they like about the business, and any areas they think you can improve on. If these are anonymous surveys, you might find people are more willing to be open and honest about what is really bothering them.

There are some simple online platforms you can use to create and share these surveys, quickly, allowing you to access results faster so you can begin to get to the bottom of the issue.

2. Implement real changes

Armed with your new knowledge (from the feedback and/or survey results) you now need to act. You need to make sure that the organization is paying attention to the feedback and making real changes to reflect this.

This might mean revamping the office, reconsidering your flexible working options, or investing in new platforms. Whatever your feedback reveals, make sure you honor your staff by making changes to create a better working environment for everyone. This shows you're really listening and you care about their happiness, and these positive changes can begin to raise morale and get your employees back on track.

3. Make sure you're offering regular catch-ups

So far we’ve offered quick solutions for highlighting the problem areas, but you need to make longer-term changes if you hope to avoid a drop in engagement in the future. One thing you need to make sure you're doing is arranging regular catch-ups with staff. This way they can share any problems they're having at work before they get bigger. Giving you the chance to tackle these head-on.

Weekly or even monthly meetings give employees a chance to speak to their manager or supervisor, set targets to keep them moving forward in their career, and to feedback to one another. That’s why these play such an important role in employee engagement.

4. Organize an event to bring everyone closer

Another way to start boosting engagement right away is to organize a social event to get staff working together and to let them have a little fun. This could be an event such as after work drinks, a cooking class, or a team building exercise. You could also arrange an event for charity, so everyone can come together for a common cause. Fun charity events could include sponsored walks, bake sales, or raffles.

You could even run a laid-back training and ideas session where everyone can come together and share their ideas. Keeping this casual means although it’s still contributing to employee learning and the business as a whole, it’s more relaxed and people can chat with one another and reconnect on a professional level.

5. Speak to managers

Managers are responsible for looking after their teams, therefore if there’s a sudden drop in engagement, this could be a sign that managers aren't doing their job effectively. This isn’t to say you should discipline managers, but rather offer them some training or advice on how to better support their team. They need to make sure they’re regularly checking in with their staff and that employees feel comfortable enough approaching their managers if they have a problem. This can help to tackle any issues early on before they grow.

6. Revisit your flexible working options and encourage work-life balance

Nowadays, poor work-life balance can have a hugely negative impact on your workforce. Today’s professionals are busy people and they need to be able to fit their personal life around their work-life. It could be a simple case of allowing staff to work from home occasionally or to start/finish early in order to organize their life around their family. Offering flexible working options is important and it can be a great way to boost employee happiness, resulting in better employee engagement.

It’s also important that you're promoting a healthy work-life balance and not pushing staff to stay at the office all hours of the day. If you spot someone who is frequently in early or stays late, perhaps they take their laptop home with them, find out why this is. It may be a case of reducing their workload or telling them to slow down.

You should also encourage all staff to make the most of their annual leave so they have time to recharge their batteries. This way they can return to work feeling refreshed and ready to get going again.

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