Even with the best of intentions, some of the methods chosen to improve employee engagement can backfire. Engaged employees can improve retention, strengthen a company culture and increase productivity, but all that is quickly ruined when any of these seven deadly sins are committed.
- Using intimidation to get results
We are impatient creatures by nature and 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.
Oftentimes, 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.
- Paying for performance
It’s been said that “money motivates,” but have you ever stopped to consider the effect it really has? The survey The 7 Key Trends Impacting Today’s Workplace asked more than 200,000 employees what motivated them to excel at their job. The results are as follows:
- peer motivation (20%)
- intrinsic desire to do a good job (17%)
- encouragement and recognition (13%)
- having a real impact (19%)
- growth opportunities (8%)
Notice that money didn’t make it as a leading contributor. 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.
- Giving equal attention to all
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 will only waste 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.
- Surveying employees without communicating results
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.
- Letting 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.
- Engaging employees without technology
Personalized service is indeed an admirable trait in any business, especially when it comes to engagement. Employees respect and respond well to face-to-face interactions, but that’s not to say that technology can’t help improve engagement.
Popular software, such as Employee Self-Service, is taking center stage in companies around the nation, and the benefits that come with it extend to employee engagement.
When employees, from the comfort of home, can enroll in benefits, view pay stubs, submit time-off requests, take training courses and access and sign reviews online, they are less likely to become disengaged. Everything they need is at their fingertips, and that’s a game changer.
- Initiating engagement after the onboarding process
“New hires can’t be disengaged; they just got here,” said no “best company” ever. Addressing employee engagement starts on day one. The onboarding process is stressful for some; with a lot of new information flooding his or her inbox, a new hire easily can become overwhelmed. Ignore the early signs of a stressed employee and you’re guaranteed to have an engagement problem.
Employee engagement is certainly 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.