10 Employee Engagement Mistakes That Most Companies Make (Part 1)

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I have a really bad habit of lying in bed thinking through business ideas instead of doing what I’m supposed to be doing which is sleeping. Recently, I was thinking about wedding planning tasks I needed to accomplish, what site development work needed to be done, and what emails needed to go out the next day. Somewhere down that rabbit hole of stuff, I found myself stressing out over the mistakes I’ve seen companies make through the years. With that, I give you, 10 Employee Engagement Mistakes That Most Companies Make!

The good news is that everybody makes them! The bad news is that some of them will be harder to fix than others. Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered! Let’s worry about identifying the mistakes today, we can revisit the solutions in the future.

These mistakes are listed in no particular order. I’ll cover reasons 1-5 in this blog post, followed by reasons 6-10 next week.

Let’s get started…

Mistake #1: Enforcing Engagement

Setting mandatory engagement expectations on your staff is actually, very disengaging. What I’ve found is that the managers participate to encourage their teams to participate and then all of the employees see the C-level team not participating.

What this translates to them is – “I’m already overworked and now you’ve added another task!” Some of these employees have asked for programs to make them more efficient at their jobs and been turned down for budget reasons but you’re paying for a platform they really don’t have time to deal with!

Also, not everyone is on social media so this is foreign, it can even be viewed as an invasion on their personal devices. Not to mention the possibility of clique behavior with some people feeling left out, hurt feelings from no responses to posts, feeling like they are talking to themselves because few people participate, and so on.

Mistake 2: Unattainable Goals

If you are not determining goals based on data and resources – you may be setting your employees up to lose. Doing so, is a loss for the company as well. I’ve seen companies determine goals based on what money is needed to cover an upcoming expense, on loss from another department that needs to be made up, on what a competing or more successful company is doing, and even on what sounds good in a tagline rhyme for the goal campaign. None of which should be measurements used when setting goals.

Regardless of how the goals are determined, setting a goal for without providing the means to reach said goal, is also a formula for disaster. A non-equipped employee will fail and/or burn out every time.

3 out of 10 Employees strongly agree that they have the materials and equipment that they need to do their job right.

Source: Gallup State of the American Workplace – 2017

Mistake 3: Static Pay

Face it, your employees have friends who talk. They gather at a local bar or restaurant and celebrate career milestones. Usually that is a celebration of a new job, a promotion, or a raise. It doesn’t take long to realize that OTHER companies reward employees with a raise in pay. If your company does not – it is easy to get disengaged by sitting still. This is especially frustrating when you stay at the same rate for many years regardless of successes.

In our Podcast, we will address how to overcome this without necessarily giving out pay raises but it is important to know that not receiving a raise (and not knowing this would be the case) has a crippling impact on engagement.

Mistake 4: Annual Recognition Day

If the only time that the C-Suite recognizes employees is at an annual recognition day – you are missing out on daily opportunities to invest in the engagement culture of your organization.

If top leadership is only recognizing those with anniversaries (sometimes months after the anniversary has occurred), with no day to day recognition; the most recognizable accomplishments get forgotten by the annual event and go unrecognized.

Let’s be honest, the annual recognition event sometimes becomes a CEO platform for bragging. That isn’t relatable to the employees and the disconnect is obvious.

Mistake 5: Disrespect of Personal Lives

Separation is not always possible, especially during a time such as this but respect should be require. I saw a TikTok video the other day where the contributor was expressing shock that someone was offering to call-in to a meeting while out of town mourning the death of a family member.

That’s where we are in the United States with our work expectations. We expect our employees to have a sense of ownership for the company, while they remain underpaid, under-appreciated, and disrespected.

If you require your employees to work tirelessly to make your dreams come true, also encourage them to take the much needed time they need when they express that they need it. There are always people who abuse this respect, but that’s a different conversation. We will be discussing it in an upcoming podcast. Those that do not abuse it – deserve your respect of their personal lives and needs.

Respect Begets Respect.

Until next week… tell an employee that you appreciate them. They’ve ERN’d it!

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