How to Address a Slump in Employee Engagement

  • Author: Melanie Haniph

Unfortunately, at any given time, a portion of your workforce is likely to be disengaged. A combination of external and internal factors—the pandemic, work flexibility needs, and interactions with coworkers, to name a few—can make or break employee engagement levels.

But what do you do when employees who were once engaged and fully committed to doing their best at work become less engaged? In this post, we’ll provide some tips for helping to boost their engagement and get it back on track.

4 Tips to Reverse Declining Employee Engagement

You’ve probably already become familiar with the signs of falling engagement. Employees who were once highly committed to the organization and their work just aren’t as enthusiastic anymore. Perhaps their performance has even dipped, or they’ve had some issues with absenteeism. Some may become so disengaged that they leave the organization.

Our recent research study found that as much as one-quarter of your workforce can feel so disengaged that they often think about leaving for a new job. To improve employee engagement and retention, take the following steps:

Get to the Heart of the Problem

Part of what makes employee engagement so challenging is that there are many different factors impacting each employee’s engagement. While some employees may experience a drop in engagement due to poor connections with their manager or coworkers, others might struggle to stay engaged because of mental health concerns or challenges outside the workplace.

It’s not always easy to identify what’s causing falling engagement, so you’ll need to ask. You can use tools such as surveys, one-on-one discussions, and focus groups to understand employee experiences and what’s standing in the way of higher engagement. 

Offer Multiple Types of Employee Support

There is rarely just a single solution for improving falling engagement. Instead, it’s critical to offer support to employees through a variety of channels. By offering employees different paths to meet their needs, you can equip them with tools that help them improve their belonging, work-life balance, and career growth. Some examples include:

  • Employee resource groups (ERGs)
  • Mentorship programs
  • Resources to help employees work productively in any location
  • Mental health and wellness benefits
  • Feedback and coaching

Examine Your Culture

In a Quantum Workplace survey, employees who said their culture was positive were nearly four times more likely to be engaged. To boost engagement in your workplace, you’ll need a culture that enables employees to build commitment to the organization and their work.

Certainly, problems at the individual or team level can cause employee engagement issues; but your company culture may also be the culprit. Some of the cultural challenges you may have encountered include managers who need better leadership training, understaffing that leads to burnout, or a lack of work-life balance. To understand where you can make improvements, look within and encourage dialogue with company leaders about how to transform your culture into a catalyst for better engagement.

Mix Things Up a Bit

When an employee’s engagement was once higher but has begun to fall, perhaps a transition from the status quo is required. For example, you may have employees who can benefit from a lateral move or a short-term rotation into a new role or department. Being in a different position can introduce employees to exciting challenges that build new enthusiasm for their work. You can also use employee one-on-ones to talk about ways you can work together to improve their engagement, including training, a new mentor, or new responsibilities that align with their career aspirations.

Improve Employee Engagement

Keeping your workforce engaged is an ever-present challenge. However, by employing a mix of strategies that meet employee needs and support a positive culture, you can address falling engagement and turn it around. 

Our recent research study found that employee connections in the workplace play a valuable role in helping employees feel more engaged, productive, and secure at work. To learn more about our findings, download the 2022 Employee Connections Study.

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