How to Tackle Disengagement Within Your Company

— December 2, 2016

While we have all had jobs that simply failed to engage or energise us, there is always a tendency to feel as though we are in a minority when experiencing these feelings. After all,many people choose not to articulate their level of disengagement within the workplace, for fear or reprisals or losing their only (or at least primary) source of income.


Make no mistake; however, the sheer number of disengaged employees across the globe means that this demographic represents a silent but definitive majority. In 2013, U.S. analytics firm Gallup commissioned a study which found just 13% of the global employees were engaged in the workplace, and while this number was influenced by exceptionally low rates of engagement under-developed and emerging economies, this trend was also prominent in established nations such as the UK and the U.S.


In this post, we will consider three actionable strategies that will allow you to tackle disengagement in the workplace and energise employees: –


Reconsider Your Companies Bonus Structure


In the eyes of some employers, the mere fact that they are offering you some form of annual or performance-related bonus should be enough to optimise your productivity. The issue with traditional bonus packages and structures is that they are driven exclusively by straightforward financial incentives, which while being rewarding are not enough by themselves to increase long-term engagement levels.


With this in mind, it is important to reconsider your approach to bonus packages and deliver rewards that either actively incentivise higher levels of performance or offer a more refined value proposition.


In terms of the former, you should consider offering stock options or equity shares in your business (depending on whether or not your business is publicly listed). This is considered to be a strategic incentive that is offered by a number of leading brands and corporations, while it also mutually beneficial to both employers and staff members alike. In simple terms, it empowers employees to invest in the future growth of the company, safe in the knowledge that their commitment, hard work and productivity will translate into shared gains.


This also saves companies money and enables them to cut their annual budget, while it is possible to stipulate terms that require employees to remain employed with the brand for a specified period of time before the aforementioned stocks can be issued.


If this is not an option, you should instead focus on structuring more creative bonuses that offer defined levels of value to employees. One idea is to scale incremental wage rises over time, as these translate into longer-term gains and showcase a clear path of progression for employees. Job swaps may also be offered as an intriguing reward for employers, as you afford your staff members the opportunity to gain experience of other roles, work in alternative locations and cultivate new skill-sets that can enhance their future career prospects.


Go Beyond Basic, Flexible Working Directives and Embrace BYOD


It is now common knowledge that flexible working directives have become increasingly accessible, whereas they were once exclusive to parents and guardians. Now, can anyone can apply for flexible working hours, depending on the precise length of time that they have represented their employer. While employers are not obliged to say yes, they must give each application due consideration and offer a legally-binding reason if they refuse.


As an employer, you may think that this is enough to prevent staff members from becoming disengaged with their schedule or overriding work-life balance. There are two main issues with this, however, with the first being that most employees are not aware of this directive or have any idea of how to make a viable application. Secondly, the majority of companies do not promote the notion of accessible, flexible working rights among its staff members, creating an unspoken divide that can often leave employees feeling stressed, de-motivated and, in some instances, resentful.


To avoid this, try confronting the issue of flexible working directly and leveraging this as an opportunistic way of engaging employees. Start by communicating the opportunities that have been created by flexible working directives, while making all those who are eligible aware that they have a right to make an application. You can even provide help and guidance to employees that wish to apply for a flexible working schedule, advocating the importance of making a sound business argument that supports your request.


This is an empowering experience for employees, who are more likely to engage with employers that offer them autonomy, respect and a keen sense of trust. Instantly, this can turn a source of disengagement into an opportunity for growth and a key motivational factor when retaining talent.


If you are worried about the impact that flexible working directives may have on your business, you may want to embrace the principles of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to create a more viable business proposition. This can help with the initial transition when employees begin to work from home on a more frequent basis, as they can use their own laptops and smartphones wherever they are. This also helps you as a business to reduce your cost base and transfer operating expenses to the user, while it also trigger an increase in out-of-hours engagement among employees.


Above all else, this helps to maintain an interconnected and collaborative workplace even when people are working from home.


Understand the Basics of Creating a Company Culture


The concept of creating a culture within your business is well-founded, but it is often presented in a simple and one-dimensional way that offers little insight in terms of how to do this successfully. Similarly, the concept itself does little to educate entrepreneurs about the costly an time-consuming nature of integrating a company culture.


Make no mistake; however, this represents an excellent way of engaging employees and empowering them to believe that they are part of something far larger than a traditional brand or company structure.


So how exactly do you begin the challenging and often lengthy process of creating a culture within your business? One of the best options is to establish a core set of values that you would like to underpin your culture, including those that are universally appealing to employees and others that may be specific to your venture. In terms of the former, affording staff members a clearly defined career path is an excellent place to start, while you may also want to offer frequent opportunities for training and development.


Giving employees greater levels of responsibility and autonomy within their job roles can also contribute to a positive and engaging workplace culture, particularly when dealing with Millennials and younger staff members. These demographics are motivated by a diverse range of factors beyond money, so you should leverage this to create a culture with a clear value proposition.


This type of progressive outlook is best described as a culture of opportunity, through which employees are empowered by the knowledge that they will be afforded both the means and the time to grow as individuals. This underlying sense of development and progression will trigger higher levels of engagement and productivity, as employees work tenaciously in a bid to achieve clearly defined personal and company goals.


So long as a diverse and exciting range of opportunities exist with the business, you will retain an ambitious and open-minded workforce that is driven to realise its full potential.

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Author: Laura Cole


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