An engaged team member is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work. They will take positive action to further a company’s reputation and interests leading to goal attainment for both the individual and the business.
In other words, team engagement improves your bottom line, leading to better quality, higher customer satisfaction, increased sales, and ultimately, higher profit.
According to Gallup data only 15% of employees worldwide fit the engaged criteria - that's a lot of ground to make up in terms of potential productivity and hence it's a subject that needs to be talked about.
More importantly, what does a disengaged team member look like?
The symptoms range from a negative attitude, poor communication, absenteeism, lack of initiative, laziness, lateness, lack of participation, and doing the bare minimum at work.
These issues actively damage a company's work output, culture, and reputation.
Presenteeism - what is it?
A relatively new employment-related term is presenteeism. A simple definition is that it means the opposite of absenteeism but it is more nuanced than that.
Presenteeism is when an employee comes to work and for whatever reason, really shouldn't. Some examples include:
- Being ill but still coming into work
- Choosing to regularly work overtime
- Working at weekends or when they should be on holiday
- Replying to emails, logging in to office systems or answering calls.
The above list is not exhaustive but if this is occurring within your business, there are real challenges to face. This behaviour can have a 'knock on' effect and cause other team members to either mimic the behaviour or feel demotivated by witnessing it in another.
The impact of having a single disengaged team member can be catastrophic.
The effects are not limited to their own poor productivity and output. This person can infect the core of your culture; damaging morale and lowering the performance of the entire team. They could even cause the resignation of a key team member or, if client facing, cause irreparable damage to your brand.
Reflect and answer these questions
This could be an opportunity - if you are the business owner - to take some time and honestly answer these questions to see if the business is making unreasonable demands on individuals. There is a direct link between presenteeism and mental health (particularly since the start of the COVID pandemic) and every business should be mindful that those working for it are in good health.
Ensure that none of the below apply to your business:
- Is your business understaffed and unwarranted pressure put on your team to pick up the shortfall?
- Does your team have unrealistic or unattainable deadlines?
- Do you pay sick leave?
- Do people feel safe with regards to job security?
- Business loyalty - is there unreasonable pressure applied?
- Do people feel supported when they take sick leave?
Improved team member engagement leads to improved productivity and performance
Numerous studies have proven that companies with an engaged team significantly outperform others.
Gallup analysis reports an 81% drop in absenteeism, an 18% increase in productivity with a corresponding increase of 23% in profitability. Staff turnover is reduced by as much as 43% and customer loyalty is boosted by around 10%.
Why is this? People who are engaged in their role want to come to work, therefore take fewer sick days. This ultimately leads to reduced team turnover and less unproductive time spent recruiting and inducting new employees.
Not surprisingly, team members who are engaged feel more supported by their peers and are more likely to work collaboratively, leading to significantly less re-work and wastage. Also, fewer workplace accidents and incidents occur when team members are engaged.
All of the above reasons contribute to higher productivity and profitability.
There is a difference between team happiness and team engagement
Your team could be happy but not necessarily working efficiently and productively to deliver optimum outcomes.
A number of factors can influence and improve engagement. These include developing and utilising Core Values, documenting an effective Organisational Chart, providing clarity on the roles and responsibilities in your organisation, and introducing KPIs to help define what a good day’s work looks like for your team.
"To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace." - Doug Conant