Employee engagement has been a hot topic in the last year but it’s not going anywhere in 2022 and beyond, so your organization needs to make sure that the right kind of engagement is a priority built into your hiring process and operational strategy.
With the conversation shifting from initial efforts to a strategy with staying power, your workplace might be focusing on the wrong aspect of engagement. Here are 4 employee engagement mistakes to avoid.
Trying to Force Engagement
One of the most common employee engagement mistakes is to assume that you can order or otherwise control engagement. While you’re in charge of your employee engagement initiatives, you can’t control how your team is going to respond. If you could, you wouldn’t need engagement in the first place! It’s not that easy in reality, and that’s a good thing— the right kind of employee engagement is authentic and develops over time.
You can look at big organizations to take a cue; Microsoft made recent waves by announcing a company-wide postponement of their initial return-to-office plans. While workplace opinions differ about the pandemic, many people have adjusted to working from home and want to stay that way. Buffer shared that 99% of employees polled want to work remotely throughout their careers, even if it’s just part time.
What To Do Instead: Ask Them Directly What They Want
Most employee engagement mistakes can be avoided in your workplace by just asking your team what they want and need. You have the best source for information at your fingertips— just ask your team!
You can tackle this through ENPS survives, return to work surveys, and direct conversations between bosses and their teams and executives. Offering access to your executive team in this time for candid conversations is a smart idea— make sure that your employees understand that your leaders are invested in their success, comfort and engagement in their roles.
Focusing on Rewards
A lot of corporate engagement initiatives believe that their effort begins and ends with bonuses or material rewards like company merch or other swag. This can be a starting point but your effort is better spent investing in building a comprehensive retention strategy. No one wants their hard work rewarded with a branded cooler or swag bag.
These items tell your team that you’re still thinking about promoting the business and how they can work for you to do that, even while they’re supposed to be rewarded with something.
A better bonus is extra PTO or flex hours in an abbreviated workweek, but that can backfire quickly, especially if this bonus isn’t equally distributed between team members. Your employees will start to wonder why those experiences are considered a reward and not just a company standard.
What To Do Instead: Build Rewards Into Your Retention Strategy
This comes back to asking your team what they need. Would they be motivated by bonuses like pet insurance? Can you set up a company-wide discount for electronics, travel, or other expenses they can use in their personal lives unrelated to work? Excellent culture, ample time off, and flexibility are becoming a standard in the workplace, not an exception. Make sure to invest in a thorough process and the right bonuses.
If you’re focusing on engagement efforts without focusing on management and communication, the rewards and promises will ring false.
Your team wants to know what you’re invested in their long-term success within the organization, not just passing happiness at a superficial level. Communication and clear expectations are the keys to creating a foundation of engagement on your team.
What To Do Instead: Clear Up Communication With The Right Tools
One of the ways you can start improving communication immediately is to utilize tools like behavioral assessments to improve understanding between direct reports and their superiors as well as communication between entire teams.
Tools like assessments give you data to quantify behavior, emotional intelligence, motivation, and more. These crucial but difficult to quantify aspects become easier to understand through the use of assessments. A great place to start is with the TTI SI Talent Insights Report, which measures the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of behavior. This knowledge will give your team the baseline understanding of themselves and each other to boost communication.
One of the worst employee engagement mistakes you can make is to pick and choose favorites to focus on within your team. Naturally, leaders will get along better with certain behavioral types but that’s no excuse for favoritism. If you’re focusing on select employees who seem agreeable or are responding well to your current strategy, you’re just further isolating team members who need something different when it comes to engagement.
Employee engagement isn’t about favoritism; it’s about development across the board. Remember that diversity is a key to organizational success— if you’re surrounded by people who look like you, work like you, and think like you, you’re missing out on untapped potential. If you’re only rewarding those people, that potential will be entirely wasted.
What To Do Instead: Take Care Of Your Team
You need to make sure that all the individuals on your team are receiving development, support, and engagement in their roles.
Remember that all points of view are valuable to your companies’ success and seek out team members with different perspectives than your own! You can do this by learning about the behavioral styles on your team and seeking out feedback from those who are different from you.
Avoid Employee Engagement Mistakes
Mistakes are inevitable, but employee engagement mistakes don’t have to be with thoughtful planning and awareness of your team’s needs! Build meaningful rewards, focus on communication, ask your team for feedback, and spread engagement to every employee for success in the workplace.
If you’re a member of the TTI SI network looking to learn more about re-engagement in the workplace, R3 is the place you need to be in January 2022. Secure your seat here.
Not a member of our network but interested in using TTI SI’s tools? Get some more information on potential partnerships here.