The Risks of Disengagement

Employee engagement has always felt like a buzzword, but the effects are real, and really expensive.
Molly Blabolil-Erfort
VP of Marketing @ Marketing Innovators, Intl.
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Unlocking the true potential of your workforce is a game-changing move, and employee engagement is the proven method for doing so.

Distractions, Procrastination, and Recognition During a Pandemic

As James Clear notes in his wonderfully useful novel, Atomic Habits, human beings have been procrastinating for so long that even the ancient Greeks had a word for it: Akrasia.

Today, as most of us are under a shelter-in-place order and have settled in to working remotely, we wonder about the long-term impact this will have on our lives. Can we maintain both our personal and business lives within this “new normal”? Will we fall victim to distractions and excuses further leading us down the road of procrastination? Or will we rise above and find new meaning in our daily routines?

Arguably, the source of our distractions has monumentally grown in recent years and even more so in recent days. As technology has evolved so, too, have our distractions. Smart devices, instant notifications, social media, are all at our fingertips 24/7. Many people were already spread thin working full-time, while balancing all the responsibilities of home-life, going to school full or part-time, and finding “me time” to pursue hobbies and stay healthy.

Today, we’ve added another layer of distraction. Perhaps you now need to worry about home-schooling, setting up structured time for the entire household, or helping out family and friends as we navigate these unprecedented times. Has structure and consistency gone out the window? Do you feel you have earned the right to procrastinate during work or at home because the world, your world, has been turned upside down?

“Behavioral psychology research has revealed a phenomenon called ‘time inconsistency,’ which helps explain why procrastination seems to pull us in despite our good intentions. Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards” writes James Clear.

So what is the long-term effect of procrastination on business in today’s world with the challenges we face? For some the answers may seem clear, for others not so much. Enter Rewards and Recognition. We all seek to be recognized for our contributions and hard work, but in today’s world of business, it often becomes necessary to quantify these kinds of things. Is there justification for this extra spend to keep people engaged and on-track, steering them away from the slippery slope of procrastination? The simple answer is yes, however it may require a larger commitment. But not only is this doable, quite frankly it's needed.

As leaders, we are being called upon to do more to help our businesses by supporting our employees. We need to check in with our people on how they are doing both personally and as it relates to their day-to-day responsibilities. Do they have everything they need to get the job done? Do the feel connected to their peers in this time of isolation? Do they feel appreciated for the work they are doing just to maintain normal business operations? Are they being recognized for stepping-up and doing more during a time of crisis?

This is the time when extra incentives are needed to proactively stave off procrastination, but also recognize those who are going above and beyond. Immediate rewards and recognition can positively affect the long-term goals of your future organization.

Now is the Time to Send a Care-Package to Your Team

Sending a literal care package is a welcomed physical connection to the way things were. We've experienced such massive demand for these "work from home survival kits" that we've pivoted our business model just to fulfill the orders. And with many more months of uncertainty ahead, now is the time to jump on that bandwagon.

Connection In A Box can take time though, so a faster alternative is to simply show public recognition on the weekly conference call to those who have picked up extra responsibilities or streamlined processes that fit in with our new forms of communication. Shout-outs and virtual high-fives from management and peers are greatly appreciated, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to provide monetary recognition for those extra special occasions. Gift cards and e-gift cards are a perfect fit and always build greater connection and appreciation than a simple gift of cold, hard cash.

As humans we not only want, but need recognition. Recognizing your employees not only shows them you care, but reminds them of the role they play in driving company success. Your employees are the foundation for your business and their contributions,  today, next month, and beyond, should be regularly recognized.

Three Big Problems That Can Be Solved by Boosting Engagement

Research shows that 70% of Americans are disengaged in their work. That’s an incredibly high number, resulting in a lot of missed revenue! It’s also a huge opportunity if you are willing to put in a bit of effort to address it. As a long-time leader in the field of Employee Engagement, we’ve noticed a lot of negative patterns that can be interrupted by focusing on the employee experience.

Here are the three most common negative patterns that can be solved when you boost engagement through better employee experience design:

1. Employee Turnover

Did you know that employees who do not feel valued are twice as likely to quit? The time and cost associated with employee turnover alone should be motivation enough to get on board with recognizing and engaging your employees. Engaged employees contribute to a positive company culture and are better team players, are less stressed, and are much more likely to stick around. Humans have an innate need for approval, belonging, and purpose and a focus on employee engagement can satisfy those needs.

2. Productivity

Motivation for increased productivity is directly related to how engaged an employee feels. Someone who is not committed to company goals and expectations is missing out on revenue and profitability for your business. By simply valuing an employee’s contributions, they are far more likely to perform at a higher level, and achieve goals more quickly.

3. Customer Loyalty

It’s no secret that when your employees exhibit enthusiasm towards your company and are in tune with company values, the customer has a much better experience. This drives the customer to return again and again. If your employees can't make your customers feel valued, they will take their business elsewhere.

Paying attention to these common issues with your employees can vital to the success of the organization.

Now What?

Improving your employee experience can be as simple or complex as you want to make it, so we recommend a multi-step process of starting simple and building on your successes. Your first focus should be on creating an environment where your employees feel valued and have a sense of belonging. Rewarding them for their great work and engaging them in consistent positive and productive feedback is the tried-and-true method. This can be done through monetary or non-monetary rewarding, feedback and incentives. The devil is in the details, of course, which is why we always recommend bringing in the pros to help make sure you're not missing anything important.

Are you ready to reduce turnover, increase productivity, and improve customer loyalty? Read on for more information and recommendations!