Human resources professionals know that happier employees are more productive. In today’s hyper-competitive global economy, employee productivity can mean the difference between business success and failure. That means employee happiness should be a top priority for any company that aims to succeed.
The difference between a happy, engaged workforce and a dissatisfied one is vast. Surveys indicate that companies with highly engaged employees outperform others by as much as 202%. Still, according to Gallup polling data, only about 32% of employees report that they feel motivated and engaged at work. To fix the problem, we must first understand what causes it. Here are the most common roadblocks to employee engagement, and how technology and data-driven management can help overcome them.
In a recent survey, as many as 70% of employees reported that having flexible work hours was very important to them. In today’s modern interconnected world, it’s easier than ever to create flexible work arrangements for employees. The key to making it work is to utilize comprehensive workforce management software to analyze business needs before beginning a flexible work initiative.
Gary Corcoran, of Advance Systems, says, “Gaining a full picture of necessary staffing levels throughout the workweek is the first step to creating a flexible schedule. In reality, the flexibility allowed should extend as far as business needs will allow. That way, employees stay happy and the business won’t find itself short-staffed at busy times.”
Lack of work/life balance
In 2016, American workers failed to use a combined 662 million earned vacation days. A big reason for this is anxiety about requesting vacation time. The results are profoundly damaging for both employees and companies. Once again, a data-driven solution is in order. By keeping careful track of which employees aren’t taking vacation time, human resource managers can intervene to make sure they take a break.
This goes a long way towards changing the office culture surrounding vacations. Depending on the business structure, making vacations mandatory can create a positive change. Companies can even offer automated paycheck deductions into vacation savings accounts using services like 401Play to encourage health employee vacation habits.
Poor internal communication
One of the most common employee complaints is lack of transparency and communication within their organization. Not seeing clear reasons for their work or understanding their place within the bigger picture is dispiriting and counterproductive. To combat this, a variety of technological tools may be employed. First and foremost, the internal communication system should include an all-in-one platform like Slack, which all employees can use to remain connected with one another. At the team level, project-based communication tools like “i done this” make task management a snap and help employees to see how their work dovetails with that of their co-workers.
Engagement begins at the top
There are many other factors that can contribute to employee engagement than mentioned here. There is, however, an easy, but often overlooked, way for managers to boost employee engagement: They must embody their own engagement policies. For instance, if the business allows flexible scheduling, managers should use it as well, always striving to stay productive and set an example.
The same concept goes for things like vacation time and communications: It’s all about setting a tone. The level of commitment to creating a healthy and motivated workplace at the management level is the true determining factor in the success of any engagement policy. Efforts by managers let employees know that they are valued. That creates the kind of engagement that cannot be bought or quantified.
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