How Organizations Are Missing the Mark on Employee Engagement
Workspan Daily
April 27, 2023
Key Takeaways

  • Hybrid work model has high engagement. Research indicates 89% of responding employees working within a hybrid model report feeling more engaged or similarly engaged in their jobs compared to six months ago.  
  • The culprits for low engagement. Research from Unisys found that a lack of interaction with managers, a misunderstanding of key performance drivers and poor technology is what leads to engagement issues for organizations.  
  • Gather data and implement tools to support the outcomes. Employers can create a great employee experience by surveying their talent base to discover where they are lacking and then implement technology and processes that support employee productivity. 
  • Implement employee experience programs. By implementing or expanding an employee experience program, organizations can improve employee satisfaction, retain talent and strengthen workplace culture.  

Strong employee engagement has proven to be instrumental to an organization’s success.  

As workplaces permanently embrace hybrid and remote models, it is more vital than ever to ensure employees feel connected to their company and colleagues, The good news? Leaders don’t need to build engagement from scratch.  

In fact, 89% of employees working within a hybrid model report feeling more engaged or similarly engaged in their jobs compared to six months ago, according to “From Surviving to Thriving,” a Unisys survey conducted in partnership with HFS Research.  

While this is primarily positive, it also means 11% of employees feel less engaged. Upon further examination, one source of the disconnect is that employers do not understand employee sentiment as much as they think.  

Why There Is Low Engagement  

Employees and employers don’t see eye to eye on the reasons why a minority of employees are less engaged. This can result in leaders overlooking the needs of their staff. 

1. Lack of Interaction with Managers 

One-third (33%) of less-engaged employees cite lack of interactions with management as the most influential factor, while only 6% of managers say the same. Instead, 28% of managers think the ease with which employees can find another job is the most influential reason, whereas only 3% of employees agree.  

To solve this discrepancy, it’s important that employers place a higher value on employee mentorship and career growth opportunities. Offering recurring small group sessions where employees can meet with senior leadership, creating mentorship programs or hosting continuing education workshops are just a few ways organizations can do this. 

2. Employers Don’t Know What Motivates Employees  

Survey findings also identify which factors motivate employees the most. While 54% of employers believe an employee’s connection to a company’s values and mission is highly motivating, only 45% of employees agree. Understanding what motivates employees is key to optimizing their experience.  

According to 70% of employees surveyed, being empowered to make decisions is the most motivating factor, followed by recognition of accomplishments (68%) and work location and flexibility conducive to work/life balance (67%). Organizations should use tools such as surveys and focus groups to gauge employee interests and sentiments. With these results, organizations can chart a path forward that better aligns with employee motivations. 

3. Insufficient Technology 

Technology, especially in a hybrid or remote work environment, is also vital to employee engagement and productivity, which feeds into an organization’s overall success.  

Businesses need to take employee input into account when determining which technologies or collaboration tools to deploy or upgrade. While 62% of employees who consider themselves more engaged than they did six months ago find technology highly motivating, leaders aren’t implementing the technologies employees think are important. For example, 67% of employees ranked video conferencing as very important, but only 38% of their companies have deployed it.  

Moreover, chatbots and other smart assistants can help employees with tedious tasks, enabling them to focus on the more complex and creative work at hand. Only 21% of employees say their companies use that technology, but 60% of employees ranked smart assistants as very important to their work. The right technology can boost employee productivity and morale, especially if deployed correctly.  

How Employers Can Create a Great Employee Experience  

When organizations proactively seek employees’ input, they can improve workplace experiences that ultimately boost employee engagement and business outcomes. According to the survey, 74% of employers with a mature employee experience program think their employees are more engaged than they were six months ago. In contrast, employers with immature employee experience programs think only 24% of employees are more engaged.  

Surveys 

Surveys are a simple tool to obtain employee insights and measure morale. Leaders should seek feedback continuously rather than once per year. One approach is to have HR divide employees into several groups, which include individuals from every level of the organization, and poll them on a rotating basis.  

HR leaders should analyze the results and share them with the rest of the C-Suite during recurring meetings. These sessions enable leaders to review the findings and discuss actions to address areas of concern on an ongoing basis. 

Technology 

Technology-monitoring software can identify frictions that affect employee work and productivity, enabling IT to begin working on solutions before an employee even files a ticket. In fact, employees are overwhelmingly willing to share their network and app data to improve IT support.  

Unisys’ survey found that half (49%) of responding employees currently lose one to five hours of productivity each week due to IT issues, while another 18% lose 6 to 10 hours. Yet, 42% of employers don’t measure lost productivity due to IT support issues. 

Adapt for the Hybrid Workplace  

Hybrid and remote work models have become the new standard of working. Transforming the employee experience to fit the current workplace requires collaboration and active listening across workstreams. The data show employee experience programs equally benefit employees and employers.  

These programs not only affect productivity but also influence talent retention and company profitability, according to 68% of employees and 63% of employers. By implementing or expanding an employee experience program, organizations can improve employee satisfaction, retain talent and strengthen workplace culture.  

As we progress through this new era of the workplace, corporate leaders share the responsibility to adapt within maturing hybrid and remote models to provide the best experience possible.  

Editor’s Note: Additional Content 

For more information and resources related to this article see the pages below, which offer quick access to all WorldatWork content on these topics:

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