How to Boost your Employee Engagement

Team Celebrating with High Fives

According to a new study by HRReporter, employee engagement levels are dropping worldwide. With engagement levels at 62% in the first quarter of 2022, workplaces are suffering from the lowest engagement they’ve seen in three years.


As a team of passionate HR Leadership Specialists, The Burke Group believes that your team is your greatest asset. However, more than 83% of workers currently report feeling disconnected to their workplace, company culture and team. With working from home having become the norm for so many in recent years, it’s no wonder our teams are feeling burnt-out, detached, and uninspired. What can be done?


Employment agencies, business owners, and team leaders can take action to ensure your people feel included, connected, and happily integrated into their workplace culture. This will outline 3 considerations you should keep in mind to power-up your people. 


The Scope of the Issue

Research from Gallup showed that employees who feel disconnected from their work cost the United States alone roughly 550 billion dollars each year. Roughly 15% of employees worldwide are truly engaged in their jobs, with 67% not engaged, and 18% that are actively disengaged from their work. What can we learn from each of these groups?


People who are truly engaged in their jobs show a stronger sense of loyalty and initiative in their organizations. They find ways to take responsibility outside of the job description and are ready to tackle new challenges.


People who are disengaged from work are harder to spot because they usually seem satisfied and content in their workspaces. This can be even harder to spot when working in a hybrid model work environment. Disengaged workers will do what they must and go home. Simply put, they don’t actively resonate with the company’s mission or goals and see the bigger picture in mind. They clock in, they do their fair share, and they clock out.


Now, while the engaged employees are your biggest asset, people who are disengaged aren’t your biggest challenge as a leader. This group forms the bulk of our workforce and absolutely deserves a helping hand, but it’s the people who are actively disengaged that are going to cost your company the most in the long run.

When employees are actively disengaged they are negative about the work that they do and often don’t complete tasks assigned to them. They tend to have many things to say without many solutions to offer, and many would agree that being around these people lessens their own engagement at work.

So, with the scope of the issue now understood, it’s time to tackle the challenge of bolstering your company engagement. Luckily for you, The Burke Group has been providing HR consulting services for over 40 years. We’re prepared and ready to help take your team to the next level. Here are 5 major ways to increase your employee productivity.


  1. Provide Recognition, Encouragement and Community

According to another study by Kincentric, employees felt more engaged during the pandemic than they do now. Why? Simply put, when the rapid shift to online work occurred, workplaces focused heavily on community, flexibility, and wellness because that’s what needed to be at the forefront during those challenging times. As we all adjusted to major, unforeseen change, mental well-being became a top priority of many companies.


In a world post-pandemic, this is an important lesson to learn. While many of us are beginning to come back to work, many are not. Whether you’re back in the office or working from home, some employees say that they feel unteathered from their workplaces, post-pandemic.


As we continue to adapt to this new world of increased digital work, we need to find methods of creating proper boundaries, community, and belonging in the workplace – online and in-person. You can even consider offering chats to help your employees recognize their strengths and areas of improvement to foster open communication, provide recognition, and encourage growth.


Creating community in a hybrid work environment can be challenging, but by placing emphasis on the importance of connection, employees will feel more connected to their workspace and happier to be involved. Consider encouraging post and pre-meeting socialization or offering time during the day for informal chats between employees, management, and coworkers.


As HR Specialists in St. Catharines, The Burke Group serves Niagara and beyond with the support they need to adapt to changing times and cultivate the company culture they need to succeed. Through The Burke Group’s work in St. Catharines and beyond, we’ve seen employees and businesses excel for exactly this reason. Putting recognition, encouragement, and community at the forefront of your business culture will help your employees feel appreciated and engaged as they show up to get the work done.


  1. Deal with Burn-Out Head-On

As we all know, the burn-out from constantly being on high alert over the past few years has hit us all, hard. Your employees are no different. The stress of layoffs, changing work dynamics and being in constant crisis mode are all factors that sparked the decline of employee engagement.


During the challenging years of 2020 and 2021, many senior leaders and managers stepped up. While this served to provide clear pathways for communication and helped employees feel supported by their leadership, the resulting burn-out remains.


Nearly two thirds of full-time employees deal with burn-out at one time or another. Encouraging rest at the higher levels of your company, and leading by example, is a great place to start.


You may have noticed yourself or many people at your company, feeling the sensations of burn-out currently. Lack of motivation, reduced sense of accomplishment, and feelings of disconnection are all common to experience. So, if this is something you’ve noticed becoming pervasive in your own organization, or your own personal life, consider taking some of the following action steps:

  • Set realistic goals – communicate with team members about what kind of workload they can handle, and adjust goals accordingly to have realistic, measurable, and attainable expectations

  • Encourage small breaks between tasks – make it known that it’s okay if your employee rewards themselves with a cup of coffee after finishing that project before moving right into the next one. Besides the standard lunch and shorter breaks, allowing rest between tasks can help your employees to feel recharged before moving into the rest of their work for the day.

  • Invite new ideas – set up times for your leadership and employees to meet to discuss what works in the company, and what doesn’t. What do they desire to see more of? Are there any areas of training they’d like improved? The best people to ask about your company’s problems are the people who work for you. Luckily, they’re also the best people to ask about how to fix it.

Dealing with burn-out as it’s happening is good leadership but dealing with it before it happens is what makes a leader great. When it comes to increasing employee engagement, The Burke Group has seen many companies thrive from having a clear strategy with their HR Consulting agents. Your people are your greatest asset. It’s time for our workplaces to truly reflect that.


  1. Look for Training Opportunities

Employees and managers alike have all seen a shift in their work, duties, and obligations in the past few years. With increased work pressures, changing environments, and training difficulties over video calls, it’s no wonder that so many staff feel stressed about their work, and why managers feel unequipped to lead the way.


47% of managers report frustration with the exceptional difficulty of managing people online. According to HR Reporter, 82% of men and 72% of women say they feel that additional training would benefit their management skills. On top of that, when MHS Talent Development surveyed a pool of 342 leaders in 2020, nearly 3 out of 4 employees reported feeling un-confident in their ability to lead the team. How can employees be engaged when our leadership is feeling this scattered?


When it came to these surveys, the most common points of concern for managers and requests for future training came down to coaching for performance improvement, communication, and conflict management skills, building trust between the team, competency when making decisions, and developing the skills for next-generational leadership.


Training your team doesn’t have to be difficult. The Burke Group specializes in a flexible, custom, and intuitive approach to HR consulting so that your team can grow alongside you. We help utilize the dynamic talent you already have and create companies of compassion through our powerful network and over 40 years of experience. Let’s get your business moving in the right direction!


  1. Focus on Long-Term Goals

A study done in 2021 shows that employee productivity tended to increase during the shift to online work. Despite this, there was an increased sense of belonging in the workplace. It’s important to note that employee engagement does not equal increased productivity, or vice-versa.


As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, we saw a dramatic increase in a workplace focus on mental health during the pandemic. Now, with the heightened demand for flexible, healthy workplaces, “The Great Resignation” has us witnessing 4.4 million employees leaving their jobs in 2022 alone.


So how exactly does this tie into employee engagement? One mistake that leaders can make is to assume that employee engagement is the driver of productivity. While it’s definitely a factor, it’s not the only one. Here are a couple of ways you can focus on long term productivity as a whole:

  • Teach to the strengths of Individualsrecognizing the unique talents of each team member can help them feel more autonomous in their work. Some learn by having discussions and listening. Others learn by doing. Some learn by watching somebody else give a demonstration.


  • Invest in better technologynobody likes slow technology. If your employees spend too much of their day struggling with slow systems, you may need to consider allocating resources towards improving the automation, intuitive capabilities, and effectiveness of your company’s systems.


  • Fostering company cultureeverybody is talking about culture these days, and for a good reason too. Your company culture encapsulates the essence of your company and has a direct effect on the emotional health, motivation, engagement, and productivity of your employees. Create a space of openness, communication, and integrity is the best way to ensure that your people are showing up happy to work.


  1. Get Social Outside the Workplace

This one may seem obvious, but it’s a crucial step for fostering employee engagement. When employees feel like their coworkers and leadership can genuinely be their friends as well as their collogues, they’re more emotionally invested in the work they’re doing. Your HR consulting team can help you create a strategy for workplace engagement, and even assist you increasing a budget for employee events.


The sense of belonging within a group that we’ve been talking about during this article is intrinsically motivating for us as human beings. When we feel connected to the people around us and a sense of purpose in our community, we experience:

  • Less stress
  • Increased happiness
  • Stronger loyalty
  • And a healthier lifestyle

Workplace lunches, social events and outings might not seem like a big deal, but to the people who make your mission possible, it’s essential. If you haven’t already, consider connecting departments. Having people who often work together located closely together in the office isn’t just good for productivity, it’s also great for engagement.


These days, ideas for office engagement are everywhere. If you're wanting to watch your employees become stronger leaders, reliable assets, and team players for the long run, consider integrating workplace connections a cornerstone in your company.


The Future of Your Business

Companies that can encourage employee engagement effectively will see profitability like no other. Creating a workplace that people enjoy coming into and work that rewards their unique skills pays off for the long-term health of your business and the people who make it possible.


However, to encourage retention, performance and long-term engagement, our focus should always aim for long-term solutions, not just what’s popular of necessary at the current time.


The Burke Group has been in the business of HR consulting for over 40 years, and we’ve seen what works in the long-term. As you educate your team, delegate your workload, offer encouragement, and cultivate your culture, remember to keep your company's long-term vision and values in mind so that you can scale your success into the future.


The Burke Group is here to help you nurture your team and find the dynamic talent you need to lead it. With our executive search, HR services and third-party investigations, we’re invested in your success. Request a consult today to discover how our expertise can drive your success for the long-term.