Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

3 roadblocks to building employee engagement in the modern workplace

happy employeesAs today’s business leaders endeavor to run successful businesses, they often find themselves focused a great deal on driving employee productivity. The problem is that to build a productive staff, you first need a high level of employee engagement. People need to be passionate about their jobs, ready to show up and work hard each day. We all know this, and we talk about it to death in HR circles. But sadly, actually making it happen is another story.

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, there are many benefits to employee engagement, but extracting them is a challenge. Business consultant and employee engagement expert Vicki Hess told the news source that she spends a lot of time at leadership workshops and retreats discussing the positive side effects of an engaged workforce, and she hears a lot of interesting answers.

“Responses include increased productivity, improved safety, more positive workplace, less complaining, improved patient satisfaction, better teamwork and the list goes on,” Hess explained. “The great news is there’s a growing body of evidence-based research that proves these benefits. And you can probably think of other benefits you would add to the list.”

That’s the good news. The bad is that many companies today are still struggling to get their staff members up to the engagement levels they desire. It’s important to be open about this problem and discuss why it’s happening. On that note, the following are three common workplace issues that can impede companies from maximizing employee engagement:

Executives not taking engagement seriously
Many corporate leaders don’t yet have a full understanding of the value of employee engagement. They see engagement as an item on a checklist – take care of it once, pat yourselves on the back and move on. In reality, engagement is something that requires constant follow-up and conversation. It’s hard to get the job done without full support from upstairs.

Managers assuming too much of the burden
In between the execs in the C-suite and the employees on the front lines, it’s middle management who often take on too much responsibility for ensuring employees are engaged. They can’t have too much of that responsibility, though. They need to pass some of it on to the workers themselves who need to start owning their own engagement.

Employees failing to take an active role
Managers spend a lot of time talking about engagement, but “Being engaged, creating your own Professional Paradise, is an inside job” says Hess. So we need to talk about engagement in relevant way to employees and with less management-speak.  The bottom line is that if employees aren’t willing to take an active role and ask themselves what makes then energized, satisfied and productive at work, then unfortunately it’s hard to reach them.

Is your New Year’s Resolution to improve employee engagement in your organization? Read this: Why You Need to Revamp Your Engagement Strategy in 2016.

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