“Top 5 Challenges” is relative, as challenges abound. Depending on your organization, you might be experiencing any number of issues, from engaging remote workers to
employee burnout. As an employee survey provider that has worked with HR experts and the majority of Fortune 100 countries, these are issues we’ve seen, time and again, over the past 25 years.
What barriers are you and your organization facing? What strategies can you implement TODAY to improve employee engagement?
1. Lack of Clear Communication: We’ve discussed this time and again, yet it continues to be one of the biggest challenges organizations of all sizes face. When there are no communication strategies, employee engagement takes a dive. Poor communication can cause insecurity and uneasiness, a plunge in morale, missed deadlines, workplace conflict, and even safety issues.
• Establish regular communication channels, including team meetings, one-on-one check-ins, and company-wide updates.
• Encourage open dialogue where employees can voice concerns, ask questions, and provide feedback. Try our online suggestion box.
• Provide leaders and managers with training in effective communication to convey information transparently and inspire confidence.
2. Inadequate Recognition and Feedback: The silence of managers is a great employee engagement killer. No news is not good news. In fact, “no news” is as confusing as all be. Recognition and feedback are keys to developing your talent in real time as well as showing gratitude for a job well done. Your talent is the backbone of the organization, and recognizing the work your people do matters. Oftentimes managers and leaders equate recognition with the “everybody-gets-a-trophy” culture. This is not so. Recognition and feedback are key pieces of a healthy organization culture.
• Implement a structured performance review system that provides constructive feedback and acknowledges achievements.
• Foster a culture of appreciation by encouraging peers and managers to recognize each other's contributions.
• Tie recognition and rewards to specific behaviors that align with the company's values and goals.
• Make feedback processes meaningful, administering an annual employee engagement survey, communicating results, and acting on them.
3. Limited Growth Opportunities: So much of what has changed in the workplace is because of millennials. They are, currently, the largest portion of the world’s population. Though they’ve been labeled “the snowflake generation,” we like to call them “the learning generation.” Technologically savvy and straight-forward, they are thoughtful and antsy, so keeping them at work depends on the opportunities they can access to grow and learn.
• Create individual development plans that outline potential career paths and growth opportunities for employees.
• Offer training and upskilling programs to enhance employees' skills and enable them to take on new responsibilities.
• Value those prospective employees who have taken time off to be caregivers and stay-at-home parents. Consider implementing a returnship program, specifically looking for these unique profiles.
• Encourage internal mobility, allowing employees to explore different roles within the organization.
4. Absence of Work-Life Balance: Another gift millennial culture has brought us is that of balance. Finding a necessary work-life balance makes for a less toxic work environment. You want people in your organization to have dynamic, interesting lives. You want them to be rested and ready to work. And you want to honor their personal space. The Devil Wears Prada is a great film, but it makes for a miserable workplace culture, increases burnout, and stress.
• Promote flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible hours, to accommodate employees' personal needs.
• Set clear boundaries for after-hours communication and respect employees' time outside of work.
• Stagger meeting times to be inclusive for working parents, caregivers, or remote workers who live in different time zones. (And make meetings matter! Usually this means not having a meeting at all!)
• Lead by example by prioritizing work-life balance and encouraging employees to do the same. Walk the talk and discourage "burning the midnight oil" -- especially from managers and senior leaders.
5. Unclear Connection to Company Purpose: Alignment to company purpose and goals is a key piece of employee engagement. If your workers don’t know why their work matters, then it’s likely they’re not going to be invested in their work at all.
• Regularly communicate the organization's mission, vision, and values to all employees. This should be clear even before recruiting and hiring. Have this on the organization’s website, brochures, bulletin boards, stationery (if that’s even a thing, anymore), everywhere.
• Tie each employee’s job to organization goals, illustrating how their contributions matter. Feedback and recognition are big pieces of this.
• Provide examples of real-world impact that the company has achieved through employee efforts. For instance, give your design team the chance to see the final product in the hands of a consumer. Connect the dots.
Every organization has a unique opportunity to make their workplace, community, and products better. Recognize your barriers, develop sustainable strategies, and engage your workforce. Start by building a culture of trust. Develop the talent of your greatest resource (your people). And succeed.