15 JAN, 2015

5 Ways Your Company’s Killing Employee Engagement

Micromanaging causes disengaged employees

Many times, a disengaged workforce is the result of major management or leadership issues that take months and years to fix. However, there are small things you can stop doing today to improve employee engagement at your company in a big way.

Having a formal or “business casual” dress code for no reason. If you don’t have clients visiting daily, why are you making your employees wear suits or slacks every day? Not only is it unnecessarily formal, but it adds expenses such as having to buy a “work wardrobe” and weekly dry cleaning. Yes, there will always be that one person who takes it too far and wears something inappropriate, and that employee can be addressed individually without taking away everyone’s right to wear jeans. A good guideline that I’ll quote from a former company is, “Just don’t look like you’re going to bed, the gym, the beach, or a club.”

Enforcing rigid schedules across the board. Many employees do not have the luxury of a flexible schedule due to the nature of their jobs, but if you can afford it why wouldn’t you? If a parent has to get to the daycare to pick up his child before closing time, let him leave 20 minutes early. If you know someone takes night classes and it’s a struggle to get in for a 9am start time, why not let them push their schedule back by an hour? As long as the work is getting done, don’t pass up the opportunity to make an employee’s life a little bit easier. If someone takes advantage, he or she is probably not an employee you’d like to keep around anyway.

Making employees work on the holidays that most others have off.If none of your customers or vendors are in the office and your employees are sitting around twiddling their thumbs, they are going to have plenty of time to grumble about your crappy vacation policy. You’ll likely save by keeping the lights and computers off for the day instead of having everyone sitting around reading Buzzfeed. Empower your managers to let employees leave early if they see that the day is going nowhere.

Overlooking small expenses. If an employee stays until 10pm to help with a client emergency, buying him dinner is the least you can do. If you know your admin took a cab to a meeting because she was carrying an armload of printed materials, make sure you reimburse her as quickly as possible. To you $20 might be nothing, but to lower level employees especially, it isn’t.

Having too many rules in general. Everything from no talking on your cell phone to not wearing headphones—it’s all designed to avoid a bad situation caused by one or two people in the past who abused their freedoms. Do not create company-wide rules to help managers avoid doing their jobs, which include speaking to people individually about performance or behavioral issues. Every company should strive to create an environment where everyone is treated as an adult and remember that rules should be there to protect your business and employees, not constrain them.

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