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Rachel Illingworth

It is clear the workplace as we know it is changing. Online workplace reviews are accessible to more and more people, making company practices and benefits more transparent to job-seekers. And with 51 percent of American employees already looking for their next job, it’s vital to a company’s success to employ engaged workers — those who include the company’s culture and brand in their own lifestyle.

If employees are satisfied, they’re more likely to work harder. But in a 2016 Gallup article, only 13 percent of global employees reported being satisfied at work. It appears employees feel that work is to be tolerable … not a fun experience. So what are some reasons why are employees dissatisfied, and how can this effect be reversed.

1. Heaps of untapped potential

Want more engaged employees? Start at the manager level. A key to growing employee engagement is to actively engage managers. Only one-fifth (21 percent) of employees in America today feel they’re being managed well, contributing to a growing number of less engaged employees. Several causes could point to the ineffectiveness of disengaged managers, including lack of skill, knowledge, motivation, or even underlying bureaucratic issues.

Managers should take time to meet with their employees to understand their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. An open door policy is beneficial to boosting worker engagement, but communication can extend past the manager’s availability to the worker. Creating a comfortable relationship between manager and worker is always a good goal for engaging employees. Establishing workers as connected, productive members of your team improves employee engagement and retention.

2. Employees don’t feel they belong

Building a community for employees can be an important step towards active employee engagement. For one, creating social engagements outside of the workplace for employees proves a positive way to demonstrate a sense of place and belonging. Not only will employees feel closer to their co-workers and managers at these activities, but it will go a long way in establishing a sense of comfort and team identity.

Another key to a welcoming work environment starts with giving employees permission to share content and other information with each other in informal groups. A solution like Salesforce Communities provides just such an atmosphere, and gives workers the ability to connect, find solutions to problems, and share content. And providing workers with a place to collaborate socially — like Chatter — allows them to engage in a way that is natural to them. It also helps  HR teams, executives, and managers gain insight on trending topics within the workplace.

3. Individuality is erased

Well-intentioned companies often treat all employees exactly the same, repressing their valuable individuality. It’s important to remember every person in your workplace has a unique set of skills, ideas, goals, and life experiences. No one checks their personality at the door when they come into work. And because of this, you can’t have one catch-all solution to bringing out the best in your employees. Instead, work to encourage employee individuality and the opportunity for questions, ideas, and other communication.

For example, customer service employees often report feeling stifled when they’re given scripts and guidelines for their interactions. Even worse, customers often approach customer service employees in a passionate or angry manner, making a positive customer service interaction wither on the vine. However, utilizing modern customer service tools like Salesforce LiveMessage can eliminate the need for many guidelines, provide more customer data for the representative to incorporate, prove to be a relaxing experience for both parties, and thus diffuse a situation before it gets out of control.

4. Work is boring

Sometimes a change of scenery is exactly what employees need when they start to feel ambivalent about their work. Whether this means letting them work from home once a week, or even allowing them a trip to the local coffee shop in the afternoon, worker engagement will soon see a marked boost. In a recent survey, on a scale from 1 to 10, remote employees rated their happiness at 8.1 (compared to all workers’ rating of 7.42). In addition, employees with the freedom to work remotely reported feeling more valued, more productive, and even more communicative with their managers.

Fortunately, forty-three percent of all Americans now report working remotely. With less workers in the office, companies are finding less reason for the familiar office real estate we all recognize. Instead, more companies are moving toward open floor plans or hybrid spaces — areas that employees can use when they need it — for their employee.

5. The tools don’t work or exist

In the past, business leaders have struggled to correlate investments in WX with profit, leaving employees in a wasteland of inadequate support. This antiquated thinking could mean that when HR requests funding for the benefit of employees (equipment, better pay, educational tools), companies simply do not see the data to justify the spend. For example, if the company has a choice between creating a mobile application for customers or mobile tool for workers, chances are the company will choose the former.

But recent studies — like the Forrester research we’re unveiling at the Appirio Worker Experience Tour — prove that these investments directly impact the bottom line and overall engagement.  


Attending the Appirio WX Tour educates business leaders and improves understanding of WX engagement. Register to meet industry experts and top business leaders, see the latest WX technology demos, and get the facts about the true ROI of investing in WX transformation, straight from Forrester Research analysts.

Investing in your employees means taking time to understand what they’re thinking, showing gratitude for their contributions, communicating openly and honestly, and supporting their development within your institution. Workers need to feel taken care of and productive, and when they feel that way, they become advocates for your products and champions for your brand. William Pollard once said, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” Take 19th century Pollard’s suggestion by revising your company culture — it will go a long way to actively improve WX and advance employee engagement.

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