Engaging your workforce can be a tricky task at times and what works for one member of staff might not work for another. It’s a creative science and finding the right balance for each person is a tough call sometimes.

Even though there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, there are some techniques and tactics that have just never made the cut. It is worth taking note and knowing which strategies that have been tried in the past that don’t work, or may end up doing more harm than good.

Here are five things to avoid when attempting to engage your employees – and some tenets to take on board when you truly want to engage.

  1. Assuming the same solution for everyone

Personality differences, past experiences and future direction mean that all employees are different. Although employees  come together to achieve a common goal at work, they have different motivations. One common mistake some managers make is assuming everyone responds to the same feedback or culture. This isn’t true, and when you notice an employee is feeling burnt out or disengaged, the most important thing is to seek a custom solution that will make them feel uniquely valued.

  1. Lack of communication

Communication is essential in any workplace relationship, and sometimes employees incorrectly assume all communication is directive and about the task at hand.  However, communication needs to go well beyond just communicating about just the tasks to be done. Proper communication means employees and managers know what is expected of them, communication is two-way and open. During times of high stress (such as redundancies, mergers and team restructures) and during business-as-usual, it’s crucial managers negotiate the stress and talk with their employees to avoid anyone feeling in the dark on important issues.

  1. Providing superficial perks

Some employers turn to superficial work perks like free food, subsidised activities and Friday night drinks in an attempt to boost morale – but without an underlying culture of trust and support, these mood boosters are futile. Employees might be lured into the company with the promise of a shiny culture, but they’ll soon see past this when they feel undervalued for their skills and expertise; and this is when they become disengaged. If they are not engaged, then the perks can create more problems as people can begin to expect them, and only work when there is something in it for them. Instead, employees should be working together as a team for the success of the business.

  1. Concentrating too hard on the work, not the people

A manager’s role is to manage the people first, and not get caught up in their own work; if they constantly have their head down and computer on, and don’t take the time to support their employees, then their staff can quickly feel disengaged. A leader who isn’t connected with their team will also find it difficult to spot issues as they happen, and leave it too late to intervene leading to lost productivity and burnt out employees. When people feel valued and connected they are far more likely to go above and beyond.

  1. Not providing opportunities to grow

Some employers are reluctant when it comes to training their employees, fearing that if they allow their staff to upskill, they will leave in pursuit of a better position. While this may sometimes be the case, in general training your staff carries far more benefits to your company than it does negatives. Employees again feel valued and are more likely to be committed to supporting the company.

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