6 Minute Read

The Worst Practices for Employee Engagement

I always try to scout out and share employee engagement tips and best practices, but what good are they if companies are simultaneously, unknowingly engaging in worst practices that are combating their initiatives? Here are some of the issues that companies will run into if their employee engagement practices aren’t as strategic or thoughtful as they could be. These 6 antiquated tactics are engagement killers.

1. Large gaps of time between the collection of feedback and the actual problem solving

This mistake is at #1 for good reason. When management asks employees to take the time and to offer up feedback and their opinions, they expect that information to be acted upon or at least acknowledged. When there is a large space of time between when the information is gathered and when it is used, employees feel that their voice has been dismissed. Furthermore, the issues have probably gotten worse and disengagement has settled in further.

Derek Irvine, VP of Client Strategy & Consulting Services at Globoforce said:

“Sure, it’s easier to resolve the “cosmetic” issues than tackle the deeper, cultural aspects. But if you aren’t willing to honestly look at your organization and commit the resources to address the challenges your employees bring forward, don’t bother to survey them in the first place.”

2. Soliciting feedback without rewards

When you need someone’s help with something, you usually give them some sort of incentive to do so. When your buddies help you move, you offer pizza and beer; so when you’re asking your workforce for information that can make such a large impact on the workplace, you should offer them an incentive. This can be as simple as offering gamified surveys that are fun to take, or real tangible rewards like gift cards, cash or charitable donations.

3. I love sitting down with a 300-question employee feedback survey! –Said no employee ever. 

Companies are having a really hard time getting rid of this antiquated and ineffective way of conducting surveys. Yearly or even quarterly surveys are going to be far too lengthy for both the accurate gathering of information and the timely implementation of that information. Experts recommend monthly or even weekly, smaller, more manageable surveys. In an HR Review post, HR Strategy Analyst Rob Rave said:

“As inroads to employee engagement need to happen in real-time, annual surveys which take months, weeks at best to extrapolate data from and then apply to the workplace, are immediately obsolete.”

4. Leaving tech out of it

The right technology is a huge part of any successful employee recognition program. There is new employee engagement and recognition software out there with features that most don’t even know exist, like: mobile optimization, gamification, automated alerts, customizable branding and interactive reports. With the right tech tools, collection and tracking are no longer a wrench in the process that HR has to deal with.

5. Using canned tactics

Employee engagement is not a one size fits all. It is a dynamic and fluid process for every company. When crafting surveys, companies should gather input from company leaders down to line managers and workers. The more thoughtful management can get with the questions, the more useful the information gathered will be.

Involving employees at all levels increases the feeling of value in each employee, as well as improving the total company well-being. A 2012 survey by the American Psychological Association revealed that employees who feel valued report higher levels of engagement, satisfaction and motivation. Ninety-three percent of respondents who report feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best work.

6. We don’t need help with this

Sure, they’re out there –companies who have implemented successful employee engagement programs internally. It’s possible, but it’s hard and it can use vital resources faster than you probably think. When leadership has to take a step back and craft a program that will actually work, their day-to-day tasks don’t just go away and initiatives will take longer to get off the ground.

This is an endeavor that is best taken on with experts. The Bureau of National Affairs estimates U.S. businesses lose $11 billion annually due to employee turnover. This might be worth getting right.

We’re all working on improving employee engagement, so sharing what doesn’t work is just as important as what does. Steer clear of these 6 worst practices in employee engagement and watch your workforce productivity and motivation increase. Do you have some worst or best practices that you would like to share? Leave a comment and let’s get a dialogue started.

This article originally appeared on PeopleFluent.