Businesses cannot function without the hard work and dedication of their employees. If a company is looking to innovate, employees must be willing to speak up and contribute so that an organization can see the overall impact of the project on business. High levels of employee engagement have been proven to help create positive work environments and propel ideas into projects that enable greater business growth. But what is the effect of disengagement on your wider efforts to innovate?
What is Employee Engagement?
David MacLeod, founder of Engage for Success, defines Employee Engagement as “how we create the conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential”. If an employee is offering ‘more of their capability and potential’ then they are being more productive, more enthusiastic, and achieving more for your business. If an employee is engaged, they are more likely to notice how your business can be improved and suggest ways in which to resolve these challenges, creating bottom-up innovation.
What Does It Mean If an Employee is Disengaged?
An employee can become disengaged in the business when they feel there is a lack of recognition for the work they do and a lack of reward for any extras they give to the organization. This can lead to a lack of trust in upper management and a lack of freedom in their job. Employees are often disinterested in their organization’s future and their role within it. This is reflected in their passive attitude to change, choosing to wait and see how a project will turn out rather than strive for the best outcome possible.
In their most recent study Gallup found that only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, two-thirds of employees worldwide are not engaged and a final 18% of employees are actively disengaged. This means over three-quarters of your employees are not offering ‘more of their capability and potential’. Moreover, your clients and customers are more than likely interacting with disinterested employees, giving them little incentive to invest their time and money into your business.
How Does Disengagement Affect Innovation?
As the first impression a customer has of your company, it is easy to note how a disengaged employee might impact customer experience, but if the majority of your employees are exhibiting a ‘wait-and-see attitude’ then your top-down innovation efforts will falter when they reach your employees as there will be no interest in championing for change among them.
Combating Employee Disengagement
However, innovation is not impossible. Exploring innovation from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective creates initiatives that will help combat employee disengagement. edison365ideas is an idea management platform that opens company challenges to employees for contribution. The ability to easily track the progress of ideas demonstrates transparency and promotes trust in leadership’s ability to listen to employees’ voices.
This tool enables you to monitor who is contributing and reward employees for their opinions, along with encouraging them to ‘do what they do best’ and demonstrate their knowledge of your company through their suggestions. Employee disengagement can affect innovation efforts but adjusting your approach to innovation can be the solution.