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Top Signs Your Employees Are Not Engaged

A tongue-in-cheek look at some signs that employees are not engaged, followed by proven action plans to improve that situation.

This article accompanies Time to Re-Engage

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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For decades, studies have shown that employee engagement has a direct influence on a company's financial performance, its capacity to recruit other high performers and its ability to retain top talent.

To put a slightly off-kilter spin on employee engagement, here's a list of signs your employees are not engaged, followed by an action plan that companies can implement to improve employee engagement within their organization.

Signs to be on the look-out for are:

Your employees are more satisfied with new episodes of MTV's Jersey Shore than company benefits.

* Action Plan: Use an employee e-newsletter to regularly educate employees about their healthcare, vision and dental benefits, highlighting specific updates and special perks.

Your employees never show up to work on time yet always arrive at company parties 15 minutes early.

* Action Plan: Hold a time-management training seminar, teaching employees how to better manage their time and priorities.

Your employees are more interested in using Groupon to save them money than finding innovative ways to save the company money.

* Action Plan: Reward employees who come up with cost-saving ideas that will benefit the company's bottom-line.

Your employees spend more time talking to their co-workers about their crazy weekend than completing important projects.

* Action Plan: Have teams establish ground rules for working together. Post them in a public place and encourage all team members to hold each other accountable to the new rules.

Your employees trust politicians more than they trust senior management.

* Action Plan: Make senior management more available and visible to employees to build trust.

Your employees remember their sister's husband's brother's birthday but forget how to complete easy, painless work-related tasks.

* Action Plan: Ensure employees are aware of all the tools, software and equipment available to them and provide training to make sure employees understand how to use them to their full potential.

Your employees would rather voice their displeasure with their jobs on "ihatemyjob.com" than with their supervisors.

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* Action Plan: Develop "office hours" for employees to openly voice their opinions and give suggestions to their supervisors.

Your employees call in sick on the same day and time every week.

* Action Plan: Institute an incentive policy where employees who accumulate a set number of unused sick days can earn an additional vacation day.

Your employees build origami out of important project materials instead of reading them.

* Action Plan: Hold monthly brainstorming meetings to allow employees' creative sides to come out, generating new, innovative ideas for upcoming projects.

Your employees believe the odds of their favorite NFL team winning Super Bowl XLV are better than the odds of their supervisor offering them a job promotion.

* Action Plan: Conduct one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss career growth and opportunities for advancement.

These signs and others like them require immediate action by management to prevent against continued disengagement.

By establishing a sound employee-engagement strategy and executing the aforementioned action plans, organizations will be well on their way toward improving their employees' engagement levels, and, more importantly, retaining their top talent as the economy recovers.

Kevin A. Sheridan is CEO/Chief Consultant at HR Solutions.

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