Employee engagement

Current employee engagement levels are declining not improving – here’s why

According to the latest insights from the ADP Research Institute’s (ADPRI) new Global Study of Engagement. 84% of workers are still not fully committed or ‘engaged’ with their work (Hayes, Chumney, Wright & Buckingham, 2019). Considering 2018 and 2019 have been swamped with all things employee engagement it seems bizarre that engagement levels are declining and simply not improving. According to the study, there are two key areas of engagement which a lot of companies have neglected. Trust and teamwork. These areas are crucial to improving your employee’s motivation and productivity at work.

Teamwork makes the dream work (cheesy but true)

Having amazing teams and using them effectively can really help engage your employees. This sounds too simple, you may be thinking. But in actual fact not a lot of companies get team work right. Team work goes beyond a group of people with a common goal. It is about communication, good relationships, support, trust, honesty and reliability. According to Gusto 37% of employees say working with a great team is their primary reason for staying in their role and 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as ‘very important.’

The study states that when an individual is on a team they are 2-3 times more likely to be fully engaged than those who are not. This is a statistic not to be ignored.

Why is teamwork so effective?

According to a productivity study which Google conducted, being in a team provides you with psychological safety. This means people feel less embarrassed, less scared to take risks and less fearful speak up. Much less so than if they were working alone. This creates confident employees who get work done more efficiently and effectively.

Teamwork also creates a sense of belonging. This helps employees feel motivated to complete tasks because they don’t want to let others down. They want to belong in the team and feel valued and respected. The bonding which happens in teams has also been said to release the brain chemical oxytocin in humans which you also get when you feel empathy, or generosity.

How can you improve teamwork in your business?

#1 Make it easy to share audits and reports

According to Salesforce 86% of employees and executives cite lack of communication and collaboration for workplace failures. We see a lot of teams struggling to work seamlessly because they still use Excel for all of their reporting. This makes it incredibly difficult for teams to share and collaborate on documents. This slows down operations and leads to bad choices and decisions. Oplift’s reporting tool allows all relevant staff to access reports, the platform automatically creates easy to read, filterable reports from all of your captured insights so you can easily view performance with stats and an overall score. Rather than sharing Excel files around staff can all view and edit one single source of the truth.

#2 Speed up conversations

To speed up communications have an instant chat platform like Slack. The platform makes it quick and easy to ask questions and get tasks done. You can create groups for specific work tasks such as cleaning the factory floor or opening the shop.

#3 Give everyone a voice

Using digital tools that make it easy for staff to share ideas and voice opinions. For example Waitrose and partners have a feedback forum where frontline employees can share their ideas to improve operational excellence. This team work has helped them save a lot of money and boost productivity. Equally use tools that allow employees to react and comment on your comms this makes them feel more involved which leads to better engagement.

#4 Make it easy to collaborate 

Use digital tools that make it easy for different departments to collaborate. Stop different teams working in silos which is disastrous for teamwork. For example, because Oplift houses a digital knowledgebase, microlearning, gamification, internal comms, compliance and reporting. It makes it incredibly easy to repurpose material for different departments. E.g. If the compliance department publishes a policy on manual handling, the learning department can easily repurpose it for microlearning and gamification. The comms department can use it to send out quick news articles and summaries. Plus it means everyone can access it whenever they want on the digital knowledgebase.

(This includes team learning)

Make learning a team exercise as well as a solo one. Virgin Media use our gamification solution which allows them to hold weekly buzz sessions. These are like group quiz shows where everyone can buzz in from their phone or tablet device. The manager can be the quiz leader and they’ll have questions which they can select from their phone. They use it as it’s a great way to promote chats around common areas where people could be struggling.

#5  Hire with your culture in mind

We understand that it can be hard to get the best talent. Because of this you don’t want to be picky when someone with the right skills comes along. But if you hire people that don’t get along with the rest of your employees then your teamwork is going to suffer. This is detrimental for your staff turnover in the long term.

#6 Let your team get on without interruptions

Teamwork works best when there are little interruptions. Do not micromanage your teams, you poking your nose in every five minutes is actually bad for productivity as it breaks the rhythm of work which your team had going. Set a time for when you are going to check in and stick to it.

Trust in leaders

According to the study, trust in leaders was essential to getting employees engaged with their work. If your employees don’t trust you or think that you have their back, then they’re not going to have yours. A recent example is the strikes which British Airways pilots went on. These apparently occurred because during tough times when British Airways were losing a lot of money. Their pilots rejected a pay rise and agreed to a lot of cuts to their salaries and pensions to help the business get through the difficult period. But now the business is prosperous again the pilots have been neglected whilst senior members of the company have seen pay rises. They feel unfairly treated and betrayed. This is an obvious breakdown in trust between employees and their leaders which has disengaged them to a point of walking out.

It’s pretty straightforward, to gain trust from your employees. It’s pretty much exactly the same way you would gain trust from a friend.

Follow these tips

  1. Always keep employees in the loop, give them the good and the bad news. Bad news is better than lies. Employees may be annoyed at first but they’ll appreciate your honesty.
  2. Don’t talk about people behind their back, when you do, it will leave people wondering if you do the same behind their back.
  3. Treat everyone fairly and be transparent about why you have made certain decisions.
  4. Reward and recognise employees when they have contributed. Never take credit for anything that wasn’t down to you.
  5. Always keep to your word, never make promises you can’t keep. If you can’t stick to something tell your employees immediately why you can’t.
  6. Accept responsibility for things, never pass the blame even if you think it’s going to make you look bad.
  7. Use digital tools that make things less ambiguous. For example checklists and reports that are tracked and time stamped or comms that are measured. This way there is no uncertainty and trust can’t be lost because the truth will always be proven.

Hopefully this study has made you realise that engagement goes back to the fundamentals of building good relationships. When you get this right the rest should follow and you should see engagement levels rise. If you need help reaching, engaging and communicating with your employees then get in touch. We can work with you to discover yours issues and help you resolve them through our digital platform. The platform can be tailor made to fit you. Call us on +441273 778289 email us hi@oplift.io or book a demo here.

People photo created by rawpixel.com

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 10th September 2019