Why More Employee Engagement Doesn't Mean Better Productivity
By Mex Emini
Date Published: Jul 7, 2022
Over the last few years, the pandemic has created a shift in workplace culture. People everywhere demand healthier environments, more flexibility and quality compensation in allowing them to work from anywhere. The "Great Resignation" movement has millions of people quitting their jobs searching for better work, with 4.4 million leaving their jobs in April 2022 alone.
Employers are scrambling as they work to create a better workplace culture to keep high-performing employees and attract new ones. One of the primary goals leaders have seemed to focus on is driving and improving employee engagement to increase employee happiness and drive more productivity. Employee engagement is an approach where the goal is to increase job satisfaction and productivity while the mental and emotional connection of the employees is connected to their work. A deeper look suggests engagement may not be the answer, especially in sectors such as tech or more project-focused work.
Countless companies may be spending too much effort and money on employee engagement to drive productivity. In doing so, they are losing sight of other factors that drive productivity, a metric that may be causing more workers to resign. Companies need to analyze the data and evaluate different ways to create a desirable working environment to retain employees and foster job happiness, leading to better productivity.
The Numbers On Why Engagement Does Not Equal Better Productivity
Many companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on employee engagement. Despite their best efforts, employee engagement has not led to more productivity. According to Gallup, only 20% of employees are actively engaged, leaving a staggering 80% of the workplace feeling at odds with the efforts. These numbers prove that a heavy focus on workplace engagement is not producing more productive employees. So what does create a more productive employee?
How To Create A Positive, Productive Environment
Companies understand that a productive employee is a valuable one. Optimizing productivity is a driving factor that many companies strive for to increase performance and help boost their reputation. However, focusing on a single approach like engagement is not the answer.
Every employee in a business has unique needs for workplace comfort and learning. Creating an environment that checks multiple boxes can create a happy environment across the company, making it easier for employees to achieve goals and ultimately boost productivity.
• Invest in better tech: Technology is a driving factor in performance, and with better tech comes better productivity. Employees can utilize smart tech to improve performance and reduce stress, increase their balance, improve collaboration and accomplish milestones effectively.
• Automate tasks to incentivize productivity: Automating menial tasks creates more time for creativity and innovation, therefore connecting employees to their purpose at work. Feeling accomplished and understanding your impact and purpose at work is one of the key factors of employee productivity and engagement.
• Encourage team efforts: Employees respond well to rewards and recognition programs. Employees who feel more recognized for their hard work are inspired to put more effort into their work and be more productive.
• Company culture: Examining and improving the company culture is a major driving factor in creating a happier and more productive employee. Communicating company goals and allowing voices to be heard can help employees understand their role and drive productivity.
• Trust your employees and let them fail: Employees need guidance, but micromanaging is not the answer. Trust your employees to take responsibility for their time and tasks, allowing them to be creative. Create a safe space and psychological safety for failure and learning from failures,
• Offer flexibility: Working 9 to 5 isn't cutting it these days. Many people have different hours that are more productive than others. Allowing employees to set schedules and work remotely can ensure they can work the hours when their attention is at its peak.
The Correlation Between Using Technology Automation And Employee Productivity
A significant factor of productivity is understanding the impact and purpose of your work. The ability to focus on creative tasks, have full autonomy and make your decisions is critical for your happiness at work. By using technology to automate mundane tasks, companies allow their employees to use their cognitive and creative skills much more effectively while receiving help from machines.
The power of data and AI in increasing productivity has paved the way for more engaging work, the ability to learn quickly from failures, and created new collaboration methods that enable greater autonomy and a sense of purpose in people's day-to-day work.
Predicting the outcome and understanding the impact in an organization supports everyone in understanding their purpose, making smarter decisions and boosting productivity.
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