Bored but busy – how to engage employees at work

By Robert Half 4th October 2019

Do you know how to engage employees who are bored at work? Our research into workplace happiness has revealed that, on average, workers spend 13% of their time feeling bored as their managers fail to inspire, motivate and challenge them. This isn’t great when you consider how important staff engagement is to business success.

It has been found that 71% of executives believe team engagement is crucial for overall business success: it increases productivity and output, while lowering staff turnover. 

Why is staff engagement important?

Associate director at Robert Half UAE, Gareth El Mettouri, has also found this to be true. He says:

“It’s important to remember employees who are more interested in their jobs are likely to make a greater contribution to the organisation and contribute to its long-term success.”

Aside from contributing toward business success, employee satisfaction is also a crucial ingredient for retention. You are more likely to reduce voluntary staff turnover if you ensure that employees are always challenged and given the opportunity to grow. Discover how to engage employees with these tips and strategies…

How to improve employee engagement

1. Skills development
Our survey showed that 36% of employees don’t feel challenged in their work, so offering opportunities to learn new skills is a great way to improve staff engagement. 

Training and development are one of the key remuneration trends for the next 12 months and are being seen as essential to retention, acquisition and employee engagement strategies. They are also considered essential for business digitisation projects and the future of work.

You can use industry reports, such as the Salary Guide, to identify in-demand skills per role so you can train staff more effectively. You can also offer the chance to learn via mentoring and peer-to-peer upskilling.

2. Offer new responsibilities
Empowerment is one of the key factors which fuel employee satisfaction at work. Our research found that lack of role diversity is an issue for 30% of workers and a quarter can’t find enough work to keep themselves busy on a daily basis. 

Employee engagement strategies should include the use of staff review meetings to help uncover the career trajectories employees are hoping for, with a view to allocating new responsibilities that help them achieve those goals. 

3. Don’t interrupt workflow
Research has found that a typical office worker only gets 11 minutes of ‘work time’ before being interrupted. Unnecessary meetings are one of the primary causes of disruption and typically waste 31 hours a month! Our studies show that more than a third (34%) of employees felt unnecessary meetings caused their disengagement at work. 

To really encourage employee satisfaction, allow them as much uninterrupted work time as possible by limiting meetings and ensuring that only the necessary staff are in attendance!

4. Facilitate strong workplace relationships
When evaluating how to engage employees, workplace relationships may not be one of the first places you look. Our survey showed that a quarter of employees didn’t enjoy interacting with colleagues. When relations are poor, team engagement is highly likely to suffer as a result.

There are several ways to increase staff engagement via better workplace relationships. Hiring for culture is a huge component of this and will help you ensure that all employees are a natural fit from day one. You can also invest in more team building activities and collaborative sessions to help get the ball rolling.  

5. Recognise and reward top performers
Deciphering how to engage employees needn’t be complex. Team engagement can be increased through something as simple as taking the time to praise good work.

Ilona Boniwell, (CEO, Positran and author at Positive Psychology) commented for a Robert Half report on happiness at work:

“Managers who provide frequent recognition and encouragement have significantly higher project performance from their team. By providing recognition, managers satisfy two human needs – for competence (signalling that someone is doing well) and connection (there is a fellow human being taking an interest in you).”

How to engage employees long-term

Employee satisfaction isn’t a quick fix to boost productivity. The best way to keep engagement high is to maintain it long-term using a blend of the employee engagement strategies above. 

Gareth El Mettouri says: 

“To ensure employees perform to the best of their ability and remain interested in their jobs, employers need to introduce greater variety by giving workers the opportunity to develop new skills or take on additional responsibilities." 

Want to know how to how to improve employee engagement for your business?

When deciding how to improve employee engagement long-term, try to combine your employees’ career goals with planned business initiatives, so both can grow in tandem. Provide opportunity where you can, and allow them empowerment through independent decision-making, without micromanagement. When you implement all these factors, on-going staff engagement should be well within your grasp. 

If you would like further support on how to engage your staff or need more staff engagement ideas, contact the Robert Half team.

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