Know the Difference Between Employee Engagement and Employee Disturbance

While it’s important that you engage your employees every day, you have to make sure you’re not disturbing them. Here’s how to tell the difference.

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When it comes to employee engagement, it’s probably one of the most widely discussed topics in the modern business world, and one of the key elements of a powerful employer brand. Simply put, employers rightfully think that better employee engagement produces happier, more productive employees - and it does, until you accidentally cross over to the dark side of engagement.

While engagement is amazing and you should pursue it, you need to be careful not to cross over into employee disturbance. Employee disturbance is when an employer tries too hard to engage their people in various activities they didn’t ask for, or otherwise disturbs their work routine, onboarding, mentoring, and other important activities.

Oftentimes, in an attempt to get the most out of all these processes, an employer will simply do too much and generate a negative effect instead. Let’s take a look at what you can do to engage your employees properly, spot the signs of possible employee disturbance, and how to avoid it in the first place.

Know your people and keep learning about them

Here’s the big issue with employee engagement - for many companies, it’s static. What that means is that business leaders will learn about some cost-effective engagement strategies, many tried-and-true, and will keep investing in them hoping for better results each time. The problem is that true employee engagement is dynamic, it evolves over time and over the years can go through substantial changes.

In other words, to truly engage your employees, you need a personalised approach. A personalised approach means focusing on people analytics and learning about your collective as well as the individuals themselves, and developing an engagement plan that’s unique to your employer brand.

The strategies you employ might be similar to your competitors, but their intricacies and how you implement them will be unique to your employees and their needs. Identify the key drivers, goals, and values of your employees, and use them to create engagement programs that truly matter.

Identify valuable and relevant engagement strategies

Speaking of finding out what truly matters to your employees and how those drivers fit into your business goals, it’s important to understand that irrelevant engagement strategies can be extremely detrimental to employee well-being. Simply implementing an engagement tactic because it seems like a good idea without analysing its value, relevance, or potential is not only a waste of resources, but it can also annoy and alienate your employees.

For example, providing ample learning and training opportunities is a worthwhile cause and an excellent employee engagement tactic for any employer. On the other hand, forcing your employees to attend an online get-together or spend an additional hour after work in the conference room to hang out with complementary pizza is a complete waste of their time.

And so, people get annoyed. This is because building engagement is not about getting people to hang out or spend more time together - it’s about providing what the individual and the collective really needs.

More often than not, you will find that what people actually need is better working conditions, more employee appreciation, better compensation, more PTO, and plenty of growth opportunities.

Balancing both during hiring and onboarding

When it comes to hiring and onboarding, many times employers will inadvertently annoy and alienate new hires right off the bat. Yes, there’s a lot to learn and you want people to become productive team members as quickly as possible, but if you put too much on their shoulders, you’re going to create an opposite effect.

Again, you need a more personalised approach. Understand that every applicant and new hire is different. When using your applicant tracking system or recruiting CRM software to analyse their data and optimise hiring, make sure to pull relevant data pertaining to their personality, traits, skills, and talents to be used in onboarding as well.

The way this works is that you can use this data to optimise your onboarding for the individual and their needs and capabilities. You will also be able to onboard them based on their personality type - some people welcome constant oversight, and others learn best by being allowed to show their strengths from day one.

Employee engagement in remote teams

Remote team management has and will continue to be a delicate subject and a pain point for many business leaders. Simply put, engaging remote team members can be way more challenging than engaging in-house employees, or so it seems at first sight.

If your teams are working remotely, then you need to approach employee engagement with the incentives that make sense for them. For remote businesses, this typically means setting clear expectations and goals, setting meetings only when necessary, welcoming feedback, improving communication, and of course, providing virtual learning and training platforms.

Provide continuous learning in a seamless way

And lastly, while we are talking about learning and training platforms, it’s important to remember that true engagement stems from value. What is the one thing aside from more money that you can give your employees that will make them happier and inspire them to become more involved in your brand? It’s knowledge.

The modern employee can’t stand the feeling of being stuck in a dead-end job or like their time and potential is wasted at work. They need to keep moving forward and they expect you to facilitate their professional growth.

To that end, you need to provide seamless access to training and continuous education to help your employees advance their career and bring more value to their professional life. Needless to say, this will in turn bring value to your company, while creating and nurturing a culture of continuous learning in your company.

Once you have that kind of culture, you’ll have no problem attracting and retaining the top talent in the industry.

Over to you

Focusing on employee engagement is one of the most important parts of successful onboarding, mentoring, productivity in general, as well as employer branding. In fact, there are numerous other goals you can achieve with better engagement, but only if you’re mindful of the approach you’re using and if your engagement tactics truly bring value to the individual.

Now that you know the difference between engagement and disturbance, and how to avoid the latter while improving the former, go ahead and create a better engagement strategy to achieve better results in 2023 and beyond.

This article was guest written by Sara Novicic.

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