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From Checked Out to Sold Out: Six Ways to Boost Employee Engagement

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell’s Soup and founder of Conant Leadership

You’ve seen it. You walk into the office and see one of your employees quickly hide her phone, pretending she wasn’t just scrolling through Facebook instead of working. Or maybe she’s consistently the last person to show up for work and the first person to leave.

Disengaged employees are everywhere.

They are physically present but are otherwise checked out the majority of the time. And this lack of engagement can be incredibly costly for companies.

Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace 2016” revealed some sobering statistics about levels of employee engagement in U.S companies:  

  • Of the more than 100 million full-time employees in America’s workforce only one-third of those employees are what Gallup calls “engaged at work,” meaning they deliver high quality work that advances the goals of their organization.
  • 16% of employees are “actively disengaged.” These individuals are unhappy in their jobs and tear down what engaged employees build.
  • The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged — they’re just taking up space.  

The money businesses lose from the lost productivity of people who have “quit and stayed” at an organization can be astronomical when you calculate it over years. According to Gallup, disengaged employees cost the U.S. $483 billion to $605 billion each year in lost productivity.

How much are disengaged employees costing you?

Lost productivity is not the only danger of employees who are disengaged. In a world of viral videos and Yelp reviews, it’s now more important than ever that businesses hire and develop the best people to champion their brands. Consider a restaurant. It only takes one really bad meal, possibly the result of one unfocused chef or aloof server, to not only turn a customer off for life, but possibly hundreds of others in their social network. Miserable employees don’t just negatively impact your bottom line, but they can cost lasting harm to the reputation you’ve worked tirelessly to build over the years. Not to mention the toll that disengaged employees take on overall employee morale.

Your employees can be your greatest asset or your greatest liability but you have to invest in them. While disengaged employees can cost your business, invested ones can grow it. The State of the American Workplace showed the highest levels of employee engagement positively impacted sales, productivity, profitability, employee safety, and reduced turnover, and absenteeism when compared with businesses in the lowest quartile of engagement. Regardless of the type or size of the business or even the national economic climate, hiring, developing, and retaining the best people has proven to give companies a competitive advantage. And as a business owner, you have the power to develop a championship team.

Here are six ways to take your employees from “checked out to sold out”:

    1. Recruit first-round picks. Don’t skip checking references. Ask candidates the revealing question of why they want to work for your business. Remember, you’re not just hiring employees, you’re hiring brand ambassadors.
    2. Set your team up for success. Employees are more likely to stick with a job if they are properly trained from the day one. A strong onboarding program clearly communicates expectations, minimizes frustrations and helps your team catch your vision and understand the critical role they play in it.
    3. Develop your top players. Engaged employees desire coaching, upward mobility and a greater influence within the organization. Look for ways to give and reward more responsibility, as well as offer mentorship and professional development opportunities. Most employees will seek internal opportunities before looking outside your organization.
    4. Offer the right tools. Cumbersome processes, outdated technology and excessive passwords are just some of the daily frustrations that can drain employees’ patience. Equip your team with the right tools and teach them how to use them.
    5. Give your people a voice. Engagement surveys, team huddles and water cooler chats are valuable ways to solicit feedback and show your employees you value their opinions.  
    6. Celebrate your all-stars. Foster a culture where you recognize big and small wins. Gift cards, bonus PTO days, or bragging rights on social media are easy ways to reward hard work and deepen emotional attachment to your organization.

At Patrick Payroll, we know that the challenge for many small business owners is that employee engagement is tossed to the sidelines as you focus on day-to-day operations.

If you’re lucky enough to have a Human Resources manager, he or she may be juggling countless administrative tasks that take them away from developing talent. Having a team in your corner that manages your payroll and provides software to seamlessly handle tasks such as onboarding, tax management, workers’ compensation, benefits administration, and employee document management can help your business prioritize scoring and retaining peak performers.

Are you spending more time managing paper than managing people? Patrick Payroll can help knockout your back-office burden. Schedule a time to talk with us about which solution might be best suited for your businesses’ unique needs.