When it comes to employee engagement, the good news is it’s no longer on a rapid decline like it was a couple of years ago. The downside, however, is that it’s not really rising either. The lack of increased engagement is a concern for many business leaders who see employee engagement as key to their company’s success.
So, why the stagnation?
One reason, according to a report entitled 20l6 EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT TRENDS, by Quantum Workplace, is a deficiency in manager effectiveness. Of all the key engagement elements measured, manager effectiveness had the most significant decline. The main reason for this decline was linked to one overriding factor: lack of providing consistent, constructive performance feedback.
“The vast majority of employees who received little or no feedback were actively disengaged.”
In a separate study, conducted by 15Five, researchers found, “The vast majority of employees who received little or no feedback were actively disengaged. Engagement went up dramatically when employees received feedback about their weaknesses, and even more so when they received feedback about strengths.”
Employees want feedback because it lets them know what’s expected of them and how they’re performing in relation to those expectations. They want to know what they’re doing well and how they can improve; as well as how their efforts align with overall organizational goals. Both praise and constructive feedback are essential for continued employee learning, personal improvement and growth.
“43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week compared to only 18% of employees with low engagement.”
When it comes to poor performers, feedback isn’t just about informing them that there’s a problem. Most of the time, struggling employees are already aware they are not performing up to par, but they just don’t know what to do about it. Good feedback includes specifics around causes and solutions.
And this feedback, for both good and poor performers, needs to be given in a timely fashion. Too often, even with the many tools technology now brings us, most companies still only review employee attitudes and performance annually. According to this infographic from OfficeVibe, 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week compared to only 18% of employees with low engagement.
Two other indicators of whether employees are engaged or disengaged are the level of trust in leadership and the degree to which employees feel valued. So, in some cases, even if employees were getting feedback, if they don’t trust the people giving it to them and they don’t feel appreciated, it doesn’t count for much.
A lack of trust often directly correlates with lack of information. When people feel that they’re out of the loop, it’s easy to let suspicion and animosity take over. That may explain the Quantum Workplace research finding that engagement declines as company size increases.
Per their study, the percentage of employees who scored in the downright “hostile” range (meaning: “Negative, Lack commitment, and Impact others’ productivity”) was more than double in companies with over 5000 employees as compared to those with fewer than 250. Getting lost in the crowd, and essentially kept in the dark, is likely to make that lack of feedback and feeling of being undervalued even more pronounced.
“69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.”
Regular, honest conversations that inform employees about the company’s performance as well as the value they bring to the organization, are more essential than ever to the success of the workplace. OfficeVibe points out, “78% of employees said being recognized motivates them in their job;” and “69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.”
Research shows that the more engaged employees are, the more successful the company is. The most successful companies will be the ones who combine the tools of technology with honest conversations to regularly check the pulse of their organizations and provide frequent, useful feedback to employees, so they build trust, engender loyalty and increase employee engagement.
If you’d like more information on how to engage with and hire the best talent, contact us at 415-835-0202 or firstname.lastname@example.org.