A new employee joins your team enthusiastic and full of new ideas. But over time, they may stop participating as often and no longer do more than asked. Keeping employees engaged long-term is an ongoing struggle for most businesses. The last few years have presented obstacles that have changed what employees need from their managers to stay connected, and today’s business leaders are challenged to address these shifted needs. For the last several years, the title industry has leaned much more toward recruitment strategies than retention strategies, but retention will soon become a significant strategic priority to maintain as workplace disengagement rates have risen to 51%.
It’s no secret that disengaged employees are less productive and generate far less revenue than fully engaged employees. Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year. Other adverse effects include:
- More room for human error – The title industry relies heavily on quality measures, and disengaged employees could unintentionally put those measures at risk.
- Higher absenteeism rates – In a shifting market, title companies need their employees more present than ever to drive their organization forward.
- Treatment of customers for customer-facing roles – Attitude is contagious, and employees displaying enthusiasm and passion for their job bring value to customers.
- Lack of Innovation – Innovative thinking is critical for predicting the market, staying ahead of the competition, and keeping up with customer needs.
- Costly employee turnover – The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.
Make no mistake; employees want to feel invested in and connected to their work. Who doesn’t? But they need help and support from leadership.
Here’s how to get them there.
Quiet Quitting – An old phenomenon with a new label?
The latest buzzword, quiet quitting, is a coined term spreading virally on social media that refers to employees not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description. These employees appear to be ‘checked-out’ and psychologically detached. According to Gallup, ‘”Quiet quitters” make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce. Also known as ‘coasting,’ it doesn’t actually refer to quitting a job, nor is it a new concept, but the pandemic has amplified the trend.
The ambiguous term has sparked some debate online as of recent but consensus can be reached that there is a growing disconnect between employees and their employers. It’s more a mindset shift than an actual action. So what is missing?
That’s the burning question company leaders are trying to understand, but it starts with understanding where your employees are at and developing a strategy to get them where you want.
Establishing an Engagement Strategy
Only 25 percent of employers have an established engagement strategy in place. A common misconception about employee engagement is that it’s widely considered “an HR thing” and not owned by all leaders in the organization. Every business is different, and employees have different needs. Establishing an effective strategy requires a commitment and culture where leaders and managers put themselves in the employees’ shoes to discover these differences.
Understanding the Levels of Engagement
These employees work with passion and have a strong connection to their company’s mission and vision. They often go above and beyond their role and strive to exceed expectations. While these employees are fully engaged now, they shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s just as important to sustain highly engaged employees as it is to stimulate fully disengaged employees.
Employees in this category have a favorable outlook of the company, but something holds them back. They may be unlikely to ask for new responsibilities and may not be convinced by career development opportunities.
These employees are indifferent to the company’s mission and pose a turnover risk. They typically stop performing to their usual standard and spend time looking at other job opportunities.
About 13% of employees fall into this category. They probably have negative opinions about the company and are unsatisfied or not excited about their job. It’s essential to address this category quickly and effectively to prevent the contagion of disengagement from spreading throughout your company.
⚠️ Signs of Disengagement
Any title industry job can be high-stress with high output and many deadlines, so it’s important to be on high alert and actively look for the behavioral signs of disengagement. These include:
- Breaking away from routine
- Lack of participation in meetings
- General silence from normal communication
- A decline in work quality and productivity
- Lack of curiosity
- Negative attitude
Collecting Engagement Data
Strategies are more impactful when they are measurable. Businesses should get a sense of their engagement numbers and determine what metrics they will use to measure the success of their set strategy. Employee NPS surveys (eNPS) are often used by Human Resources to measure employee engagement. It’s a simple and quick way to take informed action based on the data. Employees only have to choose their score on a 0–10 scale, which results in a higher participation rate than most surveys. Examples of questions include:
- My job provides me with a sense of meaning and purpose
- I feel like I belong here
- I have the tools and resources to do my job well
The results are broken down into three categories:
Scores of 9 or 10 are the people most likely to advocate for your company.
Passives are on the fence and have a relatively neutral stance on the company. They hold a significant opportunity to turn into promoters. It may be possible they are just reserved characters and don’t naturally have strong opinions either way, but they may also not trust the anonymity of the eNPS survey. That’s why it is important to create a sense of confidentiality around the questionnaire
A score between 0 and 6 are most likely to talk and think negatively about your company.
- Reporting is done in groups of no fewer than five and administered regularly
- Guarantee anonymous feedback
- Help people understand the benefits of the survey
- Commit to act on survey results
Results allow leaders to be increasingly aware of the impact the employee experience has on their business.
Proven Methods to Improve Engagement
Once data is collected, take a look at the areas that need the most improvement and set realistic eNPS goals to work towards. Not all employees will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed all of the time so aim high but be realistic with yourself. Below are some proven practices that help improve engagement:
Frequent and Meaningful Check-Ins
Much of the employee experience is shaped directly at the team level. One-on-ones with growth-oriented conversations help understand what your employees really want so you know what to offer. It’s recommended to meet with employees no less than once a month. Document the conversation so you can refer back to it and create a personal development plan. Include engagement objectives in performance reviews so that engagement goals are developed both from the top down and from the bottom up.
💡 Want to learn more about leading and developing employees? Check out our Situational Leadership blog.
Celebrating achievements is a powerful form of reinforcement. One of the biggest contributing factors to unengaged employees is not receiving enough recognition from management. Oftentimes, it’s the best employees who aren’t so great at praising themselves. Expressing gratitude to employees for their efforts encourages them to stay committed and recognize the progress they have made in their professional development.
Include Employees in Company Strategies and Business Decisions
Employees feel valued when you involve them in decisions. As a leader, you should provide employees with a sense of responsibility by including them in important decisions that affect them. Letting employees help with decisions gain a professional and personal stake in the organization and its overall success. As a result, they work harder for the company’s growth.
An excessive work schedule is not conducive to an employee’s well-being and business leaders should acknowledge healthy boundaries to avoid burnout. Encourage healthy lifestyles by offering well-being initiatives like mandatory lunch breaks, workshops on stress management, and mental health days. 89% of workers at companies that support well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work.
In a constantly shifting industry, the future of business is unpredictable. But one thing is constant. Employees are crucial to a title company’s existence. Take employee engagement to the next level by regularly measuring engagement and revisiting strategy outcomes. As business leader Douglas Conant once put it, “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.”