TINYpulse recently published their 2019 Employee Engagement Report titled The End of Employee Loyalty.
With reputedly one of the largest databases in the world for employee feedback, they are well positioned to provide real insights into employee engagement trends.
In fact, from January to December of 2018 they were able to collect responses from over 25,000 employees, working in more than 1,000 different companies across 20 industries spread across Northern America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
One of the headline findings from the report was that 43% of employees said that they would be likely to leave their current companies if they were offered a 10% pay rise elsewhere. That number was up from 25% in their 2017 survey. Now, the report says that weak company cultures are to blame. That may very well be true. But, healthy job markets can have an impact too.
What is true, however, is that companies cannot become complacent in their efforts to continually improve their cultures, talent development and retention efforts if they want to maintain a high level of employee loyalty.
But, while the report was full of a number of other interesting findings, it was their findings related to the question “What drives you crazy at work and decreases your productivity?” that really stood out for me.
Through that question they were able to identify the top 10 biggest pain points for employees, i.e. those that hinder employee engagement and have a negative impact on the employee experience. As it turns out the list feels like a to-do list for companies if they want to improve their employee experience.
So, here is that list and some suggestions about what you could do about each of the pain points:
- Technical issues with software, and other tools – Some of the technical issues that employees face with software could be to do with lack of training. However, some of the issues they face may actually be to do with the technology itself under-performing. If it’s the former then it’s pretty clear what you can do. Provide more and better training. If the issue is about the technology itself then get onto your IT department or the software developer. If a quick fix, patch or work around cannot be arranged then consider looking for an alternative piece of software that will let your people do their job more easily.
- Interruptions and disruptions from Slack, emails and noisy office environments – Interruptions and disruptions are the bane of productivity. And, software is one of the main interrupters and disruptors. The problem is that most pieces of software generally have notifications turned on as a default. If you want to help your employees then do two things:
- Teach your staff how to turn notifications off so their software becomes a tool that they use rather than a tool that uses them; and
- Teach your staff how to better manage their time and, in particular, how they can block off time that will allow them to do focus and complete specific pieces of work or tasks.
- Poor communication from management / lack of training and information – This reminds of an old saying that I was once taught: True communication is the response you get. If your people are not understanding or acting on the information that you are sharing with them then it might not be their fault. It might be your fault and how you are communicating. Too many times have I seen executives fire off a series of emails or bark out a set of brief instructions thinking they are being productive, only to get caught up in a long back and forth email chain/conversation explaining what they really meant and what they really wanted to see happen. Take a breath and ask yourself: What do I want folks to understand and do as a result of this piece of communication? If you do that you’ll end up saving time and effort in the round.
- Disorganized and time-wasting systems and processes – If such systems and processes exist, there’s really no excuse. None at all. Sort them out or eliminate them.
- Misguided decisions from management / bad leadership – This could be a matter of perspective or it really could be that management is making misguided decision making or suffering from bad leadership. If it’s the former then take time to explain your decisions and actions. Your team may not agree with you but they will appreciate it. If it is the latter then admit and take responsibility for your mistakes. People know that mistakes happen and are more likely to trust someone who is willing to admit and learn from their mistakes than someone who is trying to be right all of the time.
- Lack of flexibility / no opportunities to work from home – Not offering flexible working or opportunities to work from home can be particularly damaging for women. Do you want to alienate potentially 50% of your talent pool? I didn’t think so. So, if you don’t offer flexible working options or opportunities to work from home then please reconsider.
- Overworked / under resourced team – Employees understand that this sort of situation can happen. However, they expect it to be something that will only last a short period of time. If it feels like it’s becoming the norm then that is not sustainable for either you, your business or the well-being of your employees. If it is becoming the norm then take a hard look at what you are trying to do and either scale back what you are trying to achieve by when or get more resources fast.
- Office politics / favoritism – Really? Please stop it. Now. Thank you. It’s not helping.
- Difficult customers – You might not be able to do anything about difficult customers. Some people are just difficult. However, you could provide some additional training to help your employees deal with these sorts of situations a bit better. They’d appreciate it.
- Too many meetings – Various studies suggest that some employees can spend around 40-50% of their week in meetings. That’s an enormous amount of time. The problem is that many of those meetings are either pointless or don’t really require their presence. Give your employees permission to say No to meetings that they are invited to, particularly, if it is not abundantly clear from the meeting invite why they should be there in the first place. Also, hold them accountable to that. Ask them in your regular catch ups how many meetings they have said No to in the last week/month. Have a bit of fun with it and start to make it OK to say No.
From the list and the suggestions I hope that you can see that many of the items are relatively easy to fix. That is with a bit of time, discipline and commitment.
And, the rewards of doing so are bountiful.
Look at what EE, in their UK mobile business, achieved when they identified what their customers and their frontline staff said was broken and then set about fixing those problems. Over a two year period, they fixed 81% of the identified issues and, in doing so, they reduced their customers propensity to call by 88% and, at the same time, increased both their NPS and eNPS scores by 21 and 57 points respectively.
The problem is that, like in customer experience, the little things that annoy, irritate or slightly hinder employees doing their work are often overlooked.
They shouldn’t be as they tend to be the things that are remembered and their impact often adds up over time impacting loyalty, performance and the experience that they deliver to customers.