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Improving the State of the American Workplace: Don’t Forget the Basics

Posted by Neil Shah on Mar 7, 2017 11:30:00 AM

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If only one-third of your workforce could be considered “engaged,” would you be worried?

Turns out, that’s the national average according to Gallup’s latest report: State of the American Workplace. In it, Gallup claims we’re in the midst of an employee engagement crisis. That stands to reason, because when two-thirds of any employee-base is disengaged or indifferent, then productivity and profitability suffer. Striving for better employee engagement can have measurable benefits for every business. But where should you begin?While the survey’s 12 questions address four areas of employee benefits, it probably makes sense to first check on the basics, which include something equally as important.

Provide the Tools Employees Need to Perform Best

Healthcare and vacations aside, Gallup considers anything a professional needs to do their job to the best of their ability as a “basic” benefit. This includes current equipment, software and more. Without the tools that enable great work, a job quickly becomes a battle.

When our team thinks of the basics, our minds race to the standard responsibilities of every employee. We're talking timekeeping, scheduling and policy compliance - the administrative underpinnings that keep your business on track. These tasks shouldn't detract from any other efforts, but if they are a consistently grating experience they will erode productivity, morale and overall engagement.

Improving on how your workforce management system enables employees could involve a range of helpful solutions including: additional training, streamlining software integrations or upgrading to more holistic software suites like Kronos Workforce Ready or Kronos Workforce Central.

Set and Meet Clear Expectations

Gallup CEO Jim Clifton says, “The very practice of management no longer works.” But it is management's responsibility to clarify expectations - both of their employees and of the company. It's challenging for new hires when the vision they were sold differs greatly from what they experience on the inside, whether it's cultural, procedural or a matter of changing roles and responsibilities. Similarly, long time employees benefit from clear and consistent definition around their role.

Expectations of the company should be a regular consideration for management. For example, today's workforce looks for more flexibility in their work style and opportunities to work outside of an office setting. Business leaders should make sure employees who are offered this flexibility are met with a workforce management system that is prepared to efficiently handle remote or multiple-site work styles. Keeping them engaged once they're remote is another topic to keep in mind.

Prepare to Face Change

Employee engagement is not the same as engaging employees. Simple tactics such as conducting an annual employee satisfaction survey may not be effective.

“Employee engagement is the outcome of actively engaging employees through a strategy that drives improved performance,” the report clarifies. The requirements of a work environment today may evolve in response to new and changing expectations from the workforce, requiring further systematic adaptations. Keep your workforce management tools in mind to make the best use of growing modules like mobile and analytics to keep your employees productive, happy and engaged.

Remember, employees become disengaged for a variety reasons. But it's always in the power of leaders to ensure they offer the best tools, even down to the daily basics. Keep basic administrative tasks from becoming a constant distraction, and employees can focus on more fulfilling work.

Topics: Workforce Trends

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