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Malcolm Rowlings

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5 Reasons Companies Fail at Employee Engagement

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In a recent Gallup Poll study, only 30 percent of Americans employees indicated they felt actively engaged with their jobs. And disengagement from the other 70 percent cost the U.S. economy $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity.

In a world where sales and profits are paramount to success, some business leaders may be at a loss on how to get more employees fully engaged. If you fall into this group as a business owner or manager, here are five reasons you may be failing at properly engaging your employees and how you can emend the situation.

Overworked

Many people are overworked today as companies try to maintain productivity with the same levels of employees. This can cause fatigue, stress and even health problems for employees if you continue working them at such a grueling pace. And mistakes are bound to happen at times, which can be costly, too.

If you want to enhance the engagement of your employees, allow them time to unwind. Let them take a full hour for lunch and two fifteen minutes breaks throughout the day. Hire temporary workers to handle some of the more mundane tasks like filing and copying, which may ease the burden.

Moreover, show your employees how much you appreciate them. If you're working hard alongside them, which provides some comfort, arrange some after-hour events to build camaraderie. Plan a trip to a major league ballgame, or form a sports team so everyone can get to know one another better.

Any of these strategies can help create a more tolerable environment, despite the workload, and get your employees more connected to your company.

Role Indistinction

Companies operate at such a fast pace today, new employees can easily get lost in the shuffle. And when you may think employees understand their jobs and how they relate to the company, some may still be at a loss.

Often workers may understand the specifications of their job but not the role within the organization. This is where orientation and training programs can help. To enhance role distinction, implement orientation and training programs for new employees. Send existing employees through to reintroduce things they're forgotten.

You can conduct much of the orientation through HR software, using exercises and videos to explain corporate policy and procedures. The training can then focus more on specific duties and with whom employees will interact on the job.

Make sure all employees fully understand their role within the organization when they complete the orientation and training. Arranging meetings between employees and other managers or executives with whom they'll work can also better clarify job roles and expectations.

Lack of Flexibility

Entrepreneur reported that 44 percent of employees rate work flexibility as a top company benefit. If that's the case, providing them with such a benefit should increase their engagement with the company.

In the age of the Internet, there's no reason employees can't telecommute on occasion or receive more flexible work schedules, especially in highly populated areas. Both of these incentives can go a long way in building morale and generating an appreciation for their companies.

Meet with employees and determine which ones would benefit from telecommuting, as not all of them will opt for it. Some employees prefer the camaraderie of working with others and would feel isolated when working from home. Vary work schedules by just an hour or two, ensuring that workers are available during most business hours.

Few Rewards

Incentives can go a long way in engaging customers with your company. To know which incentives will work best, you have to know which management styles each employee prefers. A simple pat on the back or "good job" now and then will motivate some employees.

These are the same employees who may want you to give them a list of tasks each day to complete. More ambitious workers may prefer having you delegate more assignments to them. As employees take on more responsibilities, they can get better engaged with your company's overall goal.

But before delegating any work, make sure the employee understands the importance of each assignment and how it will impact the organization.

Top-Centered Ideas

It's difficult to get employees fully engaged with your business when you're generating all the ideas as CEO. If you have marketing, finance and engineers on staff, tap into their brainpower. They're more trained on certain aspects of the business than you anyway.

Company engagement is best established in the relationships managers have with direct reports, according to Profiles International. When developing business strategies, do it as a team. The synergism that arises from this group effort should not only enhance employee engagement but increase sales and profits, too.

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