Employee Engagement Declining: How Can Human Resources Help?

HR Representative shaking hands with employee at Addison Group.

A recent Gallup survey shows that employee engagement has been on a steady decline since 2021. “Quiet quitting” has remained a popular trend among employees, and companies are left wondering what can be done.

Being in Human Resources, you want to ensure that your employees are happy and excited about the work they’re doing. Unsatisfied employees can affect a company in productivity and reputation. As a Human Resources representative there are things you can do, or make sure other managers are doing, to keep your employees happy, engaged, and productive.  

Read on to understand the reasons behind declining engagement, and some tips on how to help mend the curve.

The Employee Engagement Problem

The Gallup survey found that there has been a decline in employee, specifically young and/or female employees, engagement since 2021. Specific elements that correlate directly to engagement declined more than others, such as connection to a company’s mission, growth opportunity, feeling cared about at work, and most of all – lack of clarity of expectations.

The lack of focus on these elements have caused workers to feel disconnected, uncared for, and  disengaged from their jobs – which has motivated the “quiet quitting” trend we’re currently seeing. As you can imagine, the ramifications of an unhappy employee can be ugly – so we’re here to help.

There are simple things you can do to help push back against this trend.  Since the lack of clarity of expectations was among the highest issues, do what you can to ensure your employees know what is expected of them. An easy way to do this is to schedule a weekly one-on-one meeting with your employees to go over what you expect from them the following week. This meeting doesn’t have to be any longer than 30 minutes – a small amount of time for a potentially huge impact.

One-On-One Meetings

In the meeting, you can tackle more elements that pose a problem. For example, feeling cared about at work, or noticing there’s a lack of growth opportunities. While leading these meetings, set a light, comfortable tone that makes your employees feel at ease. Take this time to let your employee know you notice and appreciate the hard work they’ve been putting in and give them the floor to talk as well. This allows your employee to feel heard and appreciated. This way, if they feel stuck in their role or wondering what comes next, they’ll feel comfortable asking about it. At the very least, they should leave these meetings feeling good about what they’ve done and have clear expectations on what to do moving forward.

Pay attention to the work your employees are turning over and if anything is unsatisfactory, ask yourself why that may be happening. If you can’t blame it on the lack of training, you may have a disengaged employee working for you, and the answer to solving this problem is simple. One 15–30-minute meeting a week can make a huge difference in how your employee feels about you, the company, their future, and more.

Tangible Employee Engagement Solutions

While leading these meetings, you may find an employee’s frustrations to be more tangible than feeling unheard at work. For example, the survey found that employee engagement significantly declined among in-person workers who felt they could do their job remotely.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many people discovered not only the possibility of working from home, but the many benefits it has. There are financial, time, physical, and mental health benefits aligned with remote and hybrid work. If this is the case of your employees, and it’s in your power to decide their schedule, consider shifting your current way of doing things.

Working From Home

It’s understandable that you may want your employees in five days a week. Many people believe teamwork is important, and something you can only get in-person. You may think productivity is higher when working in-person than working remote. The truth is, whether these things ring true varies from person to person. For many people in this study, the opposite was true.

Being asked to come in five days a week, when perhaps unnecessary, felt frustrating and wasteful to many people. They know that they’re wasting hours each week commuting back and forth. They understand that they are missing out on many benefits remote work provides. When working from home, they can save money on travel, food, coffee, etc., as well as get an extra hour of sleep or extra time with their families. This has caused a decrease in productivity and an increase in resignations.

Remote and in-person work both have their ups and downs. If you’re at a crossroads with your employees on this, consider offering a hybrid schedule. Three days in office and two at home, or vice versa. Better yet, require a few days in office, but let them choose which days those are. People have busy lives outside of work – help make it easier on them. Doing so will help them feel seen and cared about, which could result in increased engagement, productivity, and overall happier employees.

Employee Engagement: Finding Human Resources Talent to Help

Employee engagement has been on a decline among many workers, especially young people and women. There are multiple reasons people have become disengaged in their positions, but for each reason, there is a solution. As a Human Resources professional, you have the tools to take care of your employees and make sure they feel seen and heard, are satisfied in their roles, and as a result, produce strong work for you and your company.

If the age of quiet quitting has caught up with your company, or you need more Human Resources staff to help mend this curve, Addison Group has more than 20 years of experience in hiring Human Resources and Administrative roles. Contact us today and let us help you find your next candidate!

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