Top 7 Factors that Affect Employee Engagement
Are High Levels of Employee Engagement Sustainable and How to Maintain Them?
Employee engagement is among the pillars of business longevity and success. Every HR professional strives to understand what drives workers to immerse themselves in their jobs and deliver stellar results.
Naturally, they fear disengagement and do everything they can to prevent it. Yet, many employees worldwide feel disconnected from their jobs, at least sometimes.
For instance, 36 percent of U.S. workers are engaged in their work, but only 15 percent are actively disengaged. In an ideal world, people would be constantly happy in the workplace, but things don’t work that way in real life.
That poses the question of whether long-term high levels of engagement are sustainable. The disappointing answer is no.
Despite its numerous benefits and impact on company performance, employee engagement fluctuates and drops sometimes. After all, many factors affect how someone feels about their job on a given day.
Continuous disengagement is alarming, but it might be unrealistic to expect workers to go the extra mile and give their best all the time. If they’re having a bad day or experiencing challenges at home, they are unlikely to turn on the robot mood and work as if they are not in pain.
That’s why it’s essential to understand how different factors impact employee engagement and what you can do about it.
Top 7 Factors that Affect Employee Engagement
Most sources only highlight workplace-related factors when discussing what impacts employee engagement. Although that might make you think you control your workers’ performance, that’s not entirely true.
Moreover, this approach neglects the complexity of human needs, goals, and hardships. The most accurate answer is somewhere in the middle.
The aspects affecting employee engagement are both work-related and personal. The first step towards helping your workers feel happier with their jobs is to understand their workplace performance doesn’t only depend on your strategies and effort.
Here’s what contributes to how they feel and behave in the workplace:
1. Job Satisfaction
The principal factor impacting employee engagement is related to the job role itself, management, and team dynamics. Most people will feel unhappy at work if they feel uncomfortable with their responsibilities, projects, and job description.
It’s essential to write job ads that match reality and meet employees’ expectations. Moreover, avoid overwhelming them with an unreasonable workload and schedules, or they could experience burnout.
A negative workplace atmosphere and hostile coworkers will make employees feel miserable and impatient to go home. Cultivate a friendly company culture and organize regular team buildings and meet-ups to ensure efficient collaboration and build a thriving community.
Bad management is also among the most common causes of employee disengagement. For example, a worker will likely lose motivation and struggle with performance if their manager has erratic expectations and has a lenient approach one day but becomes demanding the next.
Favouritism, micromanagement, and poor communication can make the work environment toxic and cause people to loathe their jobs. Choose your managerial body thoughtfully and ensure their leadership style aligns with employees’ sensibility and needs.
2. Purpose and Meaning
If employees feel disconnected from the company goals, mission, and values, these sentiments will likely reflect on their workplace performance. They might become demotivated and complete their tasks only for the paycheck.
Employers often disregard the importance of clarifying how workers’ contribution helps businesses advance and hit their targets. But they should also explain how the company contributes to society and makes a difference.
That enables employees to understand their role in a higher scheme of things and appreciate their work. Otherwise, they could feel that their effort has no purpose or meaning.
3. Company Culture
Forty-six percent of job seekers see the company culture as a significant factor when applying for available vacancies. Seek candidates who share similar values, objectives, and expectations.
Otherwise, they could struggle to adapt to the workplace, connect with their team, and complete their assignments. Moreover, remember that internal changes (e.g., mergers, process improvements, restructuring, and external factors (e.g., technology disruption, global catastrophes) affect company culture and stability.
Prioritise agility and resilience and help employees adapt to drastic transformations. But also reinforce your company culture and ensure it doesn’t lose its unique characteristics.
4. Learning and Development Opportunities
Over 93 percent of employees say that well-planned employee training programs positively affect their engagement. Stellar learning and development opportunities allow them to grow and advance their careers.
Without these initiatives, workers might stagnate and believe that they will never reach a better position or learn something new. Provide generous L&D programs to motivate your staff and nurture their growth.
Thus, updating and developing their skills helps them take on more demanding tasks and be more innovative. As a result, employees become more confident and passionate about their jobs.
5. Wellness and Well-being
Health is among the most significant aspects of employee engagement levels. Exhausted, ill, and anxious workers will likely struggle with absenteeism and have no strength or motivation to do their jobs.
However, employers often fail to detect their staff is going through hardships. Instead, they only notice and react when damage is already visible.
Foster a proactive approach and implement platforms that encourage employees to share when they need support or feel sick. Develop efficient well-being programs and raise awareness about mental health, as that’s the best way to help people and show your care.
6. Personal Issues
People might love their jobs and be happy with their employers, but if they’re struggling in their private lives, that will likely impact their focus and performance. For example, they could be going through a divorce, death in a family, or a relationship breakup.
But employees could also suffer from depression due to weight gain, debts, or inability to pay their bills. Even though a company should have programs and initiatives that help people overcome these challenges, not everyone feels comfortable sharing their pain with others.
Thus, workers may feel it’s unprofessional to talk about their personal issues and admit they’re affecting their work performance. Some people feel uneasy being vulnerable with others and acknowledging they need help.
Non-work-related problems are often out of your control, and you might not be able to help employees solve them, but you can understand and be there for them. The pandemic and remote work have shown that it’s not always easy to draw a clear line between the professional and personal life.
However, the business world still isn’t close enough to accepting that private matters are often so severe that they affect work performance.
How Can You Nurture Employee Engagement if High Levels aren’t Sustainable?
Employee engagement will sometimes drop, regardless of your effort and strategies. Start addressing the issue by identifying the cause.
Leverage platforms that provide a safe space for workers to talk and share their problems. For example, Shoogle is an app that helps you create a community and encourage people to join.
It has a flexible design and efficient communication tools that spark collaboration and team interaction. As a result, employees can meet each other better, commit to shared goals, and drive their own well-being.
But the app also includes advanced analytics that helps you spot unmet employees’ needs and take a proactive approach towards addressing them. These insights enable you to understand what causes your workers to struggle with engagement and do something before the issue escalates.
Besides offering a platform that helps people connect, share feedback, and share their thoughts and feelings, also acknowledge that sometimes all you can do is listen to your workers and let them know you’re there.
Give them space to work through their emotions and problems. Be a caring employer and allow employees to take some time off or offer flexible schedules to give them more time to feel better or grieve.
Do everything on your part to ensure employee engagement – establish reasonable workloads, provide remote work, implement well-rounded well-being programs, and develop a positive company culture. But also understand that it’s not always possible to separate work and life.
That would force people to hide or miss significant life events and suffer in silence. As a result, their frustration and pain could accumulate and affect their job performance.
Let your employees know they’re not alone, and you can help them find healthy outlets and resources for solving their problems. Also, clarify that they’re allowed to feel low and not be the workplace rockstars non-stop.
That way, workers will feel more confident about reaching out and asking for support. Thus, you’ll also understand the cause of their disengagement and find an efficient solution faster.
Continuous high employee engagement might not be realistic, but you can still help employees stay passionate about their jobs and feel safe in the workplace. Provide the necessary support and resources and be there for them.
Clarify that you don’t expect them to feel good and deliver the same results all the time. Give employees some time to address their issues and help them complete their tasks meanwhile by reducing their workload, adjusting schedules, or allowing them to choose their projects.
Finally, provide spaces where they can feel safe, connect with the team, and share what they’re going through. As a result, you’ll gain insights to offer relevant support and understand what drives your employees’ performance and (dis)engagement.