Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies at least $450 billion a year, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report.
Many employers try to combat the issue with programs aimed at engaging employees. But in a recent survey, most corporate and internal communications pros said their employees are not engaged.
The Mobile Trends in the Workplace survey was conducted by theEMPLOYEEapp, the provider of a mobile app for internal communications. It found that 213 out of 300 companies surveyed have employee engagement initiatives in place. But at 134 of those, many employees are still “just not that into” their employer. More than 10 percent of respondents acknowledged that employee engagement is a significant problem. What’s to blame?
Jeff Corbin, founder and CEO of theEMPLOYEEapp, calls employee engagement the “number one challenge” his business hears about from internal communications and human resource professionals. But his surveys have found that the most common approaches to getting employees engaged are stale and tired: Training courses (72 percent) Open door policies (71 percent) Flex time and telecommuting (68 percent) Reimbursement or paying for industry memberships (61 percent) Tuition reimbursement (59 percent) Employee assistance programs (59 percent)
“As the workforce population continues to skew younger, employers are now being forced to think outside of the box and reimagine how employee engagement can be accomplished,“ Corbin says. "There is a lot of room for improvement.”
Earlier surveys of employees by Corbin’s team indicated that the ability for employees to easily access information and to be more productive in their work directly correlates to enhanced employee engagement. Frequency and method of communications are important too. More than 90 percent of employers agreed that the way they communicate impacts engagement.
But, confirming Microsoft research that Yahoo Small Business reported on here earlier, most respondents feel their companies don’t utilize enough digital communications tools to communicate with Millennials. Email and face-to-face meetings are still the main methods of communicating at more than 90 percent of companies surveyed. Corporate intranets were cited as a distant third method of employee communications, and only 16 percent reported that mobile applications are used by their companies to communicate with employees.
Based on common survey responses from employers and employees, Corbin concludes, “Not only do employers acknowledge the problems that their companies face with respect to engagement, but they also recognize the importance of communications to improving it. The failure of their companies to stay ahead of the technological curve and to appeal to the needs of their employees will only become more evident as lower productivity, due to lack of engagement, continues.”
TheEMPLOYEEapp will host a free webinar on Employee Engagement in the Mobile Age, featuring communications experts from Boehringer Ingelheim, Meridian Healthcare Partners, and Lockheed Martin in conversation with Jeff Corbin, on November 17 at 2:00 pm ET.