Tips for Keeping Employees Engaged During a Market Downturn

Keeping employees engaged remains a major concern for the organizations and specifically the Human resources (HR) department. Keeping high employee engagement levels remains a challenge for most employers. Surveys have observed that less than half of businesses believe that their employees are engaged in their work, and will make an additional effort to do the work. This indicates that most organizations require a lot of help in this matter. Most businesses think that less than two thirds of their employees are engaged in the work.

employee engagement

The immediate supervisors of the employee and leaders are the major factors affecting employee engagement. Some of the tips for managers which will help in keeping employees even during a downturn are listed below:

1. Employees are Assets
  • Employees should be considered as assets for the organization, not expenses and treated well. The leadership of the organization should be aware that if the employees are fully engaged in the work they do, they will add more value to the work they do. It is advisable to define the roles for each employee, define goals which are linked to the goals of their department, division or the entire company.
2. Employee Appreciation Culture
  • The organization should foster a culture of appreciating employees. The employees should be aware that they make a difference and help the business attain its targets and often exceed them. The employees should be informed about how their behavior is linked to the company goals and values using a strategically designed program for recognizing employee efforts. This program will show how the work done daily by the employee contributes to the achievement of company goals.
3. Employee Recognition
  • Improving performance by recognizing additional effort. If the employee is frequently and consistently recognized for his additional effort in the right way, it will result in a greater boost to the performance of the employee. It is observed that the return on investment (ROI) for a well designed recognition program is usually far more than the annual salary increased. The program rewards should be at least 1% of the payroll of the business. The organizations should reduce their annual increments to the lowest possible and encourage better performance from employees by implementing a suitable recognition program.
4. Open and Honest Communication
  • It is important to have an open and creative discussion with workers either face-to-face or in a group. For this, the supervisor should stop considering his own agenda and expertise and consider his subordinate(s) needs. This can help in increasing the engagement of teams since assumptions are questioned, different opinions are considered and problems are converted into opportunities
Employee Discussion Process

Some important considerations which should be discussed and documented after such discussions focus on the following:

– What are the problems which we are facing in this area?

– What are the reasons why we face these problems?

– What can the employee, team or our organization do to get a better result?

– What is the team or organization doing at present which is causing problems?

– If the problem is resolved, how would conditions improve?

After this, the information provided should be converted into plans which can be implemented.

Increasing the recognition of the employees, being involved with the employees, their problems and offering better opportunities for career growth can help improve employee engagement. Organizations with high engagement levels are more likely to be monitoring the engagement of the employees closely, recognizing better employee performance offering career growth. The workforce will also have leaders and supervisors who improve employee engagement.

Recruiting Engaged Employees

Need assistance recruiting engaged workers, call on Flexicrew or just pick our professionals‘ brain for creative ideas.

Evidence of Benefits of an Engaged Workforce

Employee engagement is about the commitment of employees to reach challenging goals, finding ways to improve their employer’s work processes and achieve personal satisfaction from the job being done.

CHARACTERISTICS-OF-EMPLOYEE-ENGAGEMENT

Study of Employee Engagement

Various researchers as well as individual companies have measured the motivation of employees using various simple-to-highly complex employee opinion surveys.  Although results differ among studies, they are consistent in the direction of the findings.

A high level task force conducted detailed research on how an engaged workforce can affect an organization and its growth. It was found that there is a significant difference in the performance of organizations with a highly engaged workforce and organizations with lower employee engagement levels. Hence the task force said that leaders and managers should focus on making the employees more engaged since this could result in greater productivity and GDP growth. The statistics of employee engagement and business performance for some of the most reputed organizations were provided as evidence.

Statistics of Employee Engagement

One survey of the workforce indicates that…

– Only one-third of the employees are actively engaged in the work which they are assigned.  According to a Gallup poll, only 51% of the American workforce is engaged.

– That translates into approximately eighty to one hundred million employees are not delivering their full capability or attaining their full potential at the work they were doing!

– 64% of the employees said that they had more skills than what were used for the work which they were doing at present

Comparing Employers with the Most Engaged vs. the Least Engaged Employees

Statistics were compiled of different organizations, and they were classified based on their level of workforce engagement. Specifically the performance of companies in the top quartile of employee engagement was compared to the companies in the bottom quartile. It was found that:

– The profit of the companies in the top quartile was twice the profit of companies in the bottom quartile

– The revenue growth of the top companies for employee engagement was two and half times the growth for companies with lower engagement

– Customer satisfaction levels in for the top quartile companies was 12% higher than the lowest quartile

– Highly engaged employees were 18% more productive compared to employees who were not engaged in the work assigned

– 59% of the employees engaged in their work were likely to offer creative and innovative solutions while doing the tasks assigned to them compared to only 3% of the employees who were less engaged

– The high engaged employees were less likely to leave their job and their companies had a 40% lower employee turnover, compared to businesses whose employees were mostly not engaged. So organizations with an engaged workforce has to spend less money and effort on recruiting new employees.

– It was found that efficiency in organizations having engaged employees was about 35% higher than businesses with less engaged workforce. For the organization, this increase in productivity is equivalent to having one additional free employee for every eight employees

– Organizations whose employees are less engaged, find that these employees are 42% more likely to be involved in accidents compared to businesses with a highly engaged workforce. This is because the unhappy employees are usually more careless and do not follow the rules specified. These accidents are expensive since the productivity is adversely affected.

Wow!  Kind of disheartening.

Objectives of Employee Engagement

So obviously the objectives of employee engagement are to:

  • Become an “employer of choice” in your industry
  • Improve employee retention
  • Build a culture of high performance
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Increase shareholder value (for companies with shareholders)
  • Reduce absenteeism.

Hence every organization should do everything possible to keep their employees engaged, since it increases productivity and what’s more, it has a real effect on your business bottom line – without any additional cost.

Recruiting Engaged Employees

Need assistance recruiting engaged workers, call on Flexicrew or just pick our professionals‘ brain for creative ideas.

The Importance of Employee Engagement during a Downturn

Studies have indicated that organizations where employee engagement levels are high will usually be more profitable and successful. Sometimes the organization may face a crisis due to factors beyond their control like a pandemic or recession. In this case, it becomes even more important for the organization to use all the resources available efficiently. Employees are a major resource for all organizations, and their compensation forms a significant part of the regular business expenses. Hence increasing the engagement levels of its employees is one of the most cost effective ways of boosting the productivity of the organization.

simple ways to employee engagement

Here are four simple ways to improve employee engagement:

Communicate regularly

During a recession, many employees fear that they will be dismissed, especially if the organization has dismissed some employees in other offices. This can lead to a lot of mental stress, anxiety since the salary is the main source of income for most employees. It is also very difficult to get a job during the recession. The employees may waste a lot of time gossiping and may not provide proper customer service. Hence it is important for the management and human resources (HR) to communicate regularly with the employees and honestly answer any query they may have. This will greatly reduce the stress which uncertainty can cause.

Low cost methods to improve engagement

During a crisis, the profit of the business will usually be adversely affected due to which it cannot afford to spend more money to keep employees happy. One way to deal with the problem is looking for low cost solutions. Often the threat of a layoff can cause a lot of stress for the employees. Some companies are announcing salary cuts for all employees to reduce the wage bill. In other cases, the employees are offered other options which will help them improve their lifestyle or have more free time. For example, some employees may be allowed to work at home.

Reskilling and training

When the number of orders is reduced, the employees usually have more free time. Instead of firing these employees or paying them salaries despite doing no work, many companies are utilizing this time to train these employees in new technologies which are likely to be in demand. The training will also help improve the career prospects of the employee, and increase the employee engagement since the employee does not have to pay any additional amount for the training. The free time can be used for reskilling, asking experienced employees to train others.

Cost effective Recognition

Though a large number of employees may be working remotely, the organization can still find cost effective methods to recognize performers. The organization should determine the goals which are important and how the employee contribution can help in achieving these goals. It is important to recognize the top performing employees and acknowledge their contribution on time, so that they remain motivated, engaged and work hard. There are many tools which are available which can be used to acknowledge employees for meeting or exceeding the goals specified.

Summary

Though a recession, pandemic or other natural or man-made disaster is a difficult period for any employer, keeping employees engaged can help the organization tide over the crisis successfully.

Resources

Contact Flexicrew and we will expertly guide your organization towards optimal performance through employee engagement.