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8 Ways To Help Employees Re-Engage At Work

Unengaged Employees are a crisis for your bottom line. Full stop.

As Forbes contributor Naz Beheshti shows us, not only do engaged teams produce a 21% boost in profitability, but also a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 59% reduction in turnover. 

Let’s put that into bottom-line dollars-and-cents perspective: 

According to HRDive, you’re going to spend about a third of an employee’s salary trying to replace them: that’s $15,000 dollars for an employee who makes $45K a year—and we don’t need to explain that it only gets more expensive from there. 

Simply by re-engaging your employees, you’ll see nearly 60% drop in the amount of employees you’ll have to replace this year. If you were on track to lose 3 employees this year making the above salary, you just saved about $30K.

All by taking some simple steps that don’t even touch your bottom line. 

The big secret is that re-engaging employees doesn’t take huge upfront investment. It takes a good manager who’s willing to put in the time and effort to get disengaged employees back on track. 

Take even just one of these practices this week, and watch what a difference it can make for your team. 

Be Honest

TinyPulse’s employee engagement survey a few years back that transparency was the number one factor contributing to employees’ happiness. That’s not something to overlook. 

That starts by having a level-set with your disengaged employees. Bring them into your office, and give them space to be honest about where they’re at with the work. 

Not only does this show them that you care, but it allows them to breathe easy knowing they don’t have to “fake it,” which in reality only drives them into further disengagement.

Make Time For Them

But it can’t just be about that one-time meeting. What we’ve covered time and time again is that a healthy, engaged office has open channels of communication. Start a regular cadence with your team-members, where you’re not simply sitting down for annual or semi-annual reviews, but actually making space for a real dialogue. 

This can look like weekly one-on-ones, regular team lunches, or even extra-curricular bonding events. But the most important thing is that your employees feel like they have a real chance to express themselves, be seen, and be heard.

Re-Align Their Goals

Beneath employee disengagement is often a loss of direction and purpose. While this can be because they don’t feel the impact of their job within the greater mission of your organization, it can also be because they don’t have any goals set for themselves—or from their manager. 

Goal-setting is a simple, efficient way to reorient employees to what makes their job meaningful. For one this can be personal goals—whether it’s saving up for a new house, a baby, or even just a great vacation—but it can also be career goals. Do they see themselves on track to developing a specific type of career? 

Maybe that’s a conversation you can have in your next one-on-one.

Set Short and Long-Term Expectations

Beyond goals, it’s extremely important to define the expectations around any role. We usually deliver this in the form of KPIs—that is, key performance indicators. These are the metrics by which an employer can measure an employee’s relative productivity or success. 

For a sales person that might be X number of new prospects per week, for an HR recruiter it might mean X number of new resumes. What’s important is that you’re defining and outlining how an employee can succeed, not just leaving them to clock in and out. 

Foster Mentoring Relationships

Seventy-five percent of executives that having a mentor was an important part of their career development, according to one survey. What that should translate to is that the majority of us will not develop in our careers without some sort of guidance and mentor-type relationship. 

Setting up this sort of program within your own office has a two-fold, immediate benefit. Not only will you help disengaged employees who need some direction in your life—you’ll also give new purpose to those that are tapped to be mentors themselves! 

Recognize Good Performance

We beat the drum of recognition a lot around here, and that’s because it’s extremely important for employee engagement. 

Recognition is a really simple, often completely free way to boost employee morale. It’s as small as going out of your way to tell an employee “great job,” and can be as elaborate as a reward trip for top performers. 

But make no mistake: in the world of recruiting, companies are always after “top talent,” and employees are striving to fit that role. If they’re performing at top-talent level, and not feeling that those talents are being noticed, they’re going to start looking for that recognition with a new employer. 

Incentivize Improvement

More broadly, when we talk about recognition, we also often like to talk about rewards. Rewarding employees for good work doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it’s as simple as a better parking spot or a few extra days off. 

Put simply, rewards are an investment in your team. They’ve been proven in study after study to positively impact both engagement and performance—which means that they’re good for you and your employees. It’s really as simple as that. 

Redefine Flexibility

On another note, there’s also the possibility that some employees are beginning to disengage simply because the circumstances of their life have changed. Outside of the office, there are so many moving parts that managers aren’t going to be privy to (which takes us back to that whole open dialogue thing), and those things affect how we perform at work. 

Enter in flexible scheduling and even remote employee options. For most employees, we’ve been more accustomed to life with the Internet than without, and it’s never been easier to integrate a partial or full work from home schedule. Sometimes, it may just be having a once-a-week option that makes all the difference in the world. 

Bottom line, you never know what an employee needs until you ask. Take these options to heart and see what works for your team. It may just be exactly the jump start you were looking for.