TeamBonding works with companies across the country looking to build stronger teams within their organizations, so naturally, employee engagement is a topic that comes up often. It’s a term that’s been buzzing over the past couple of years as organizations search high and low for the perfect formula to decrease turnover, increase enthusiasm and maximize productivity amongst employees.
With countless views on ways to increase employee engagement abound, we wanted to take a look at the other side of things and identify specific barriers that business owners and managers are facing. We surveyed 500 small-mid sized business owners and managers across the US and asked them to identify the number one challenge when it comes to getting employees engaged. These respondents either own or manage a business with fewer than 100 employees. Here’s what they said.
1. (31%) Getting employees off their phones
Turns out, when it comes to small businesses, forget the complex problems of solving engagement for virtual workers or getting multigenerational workers to integrate into cohesive teams. They just need some help getting their employees to put down their phones! Is it really a surprise that the majority of respondents reported this as their biggest challenge?
Mobile devices have turned us into screen-addicts, averting our eyes and attention at a startling rate. This is an especially big problem when we begin to look at low wage jobs and positions in rural areas. Small business owners and managers that are making less than $24,000 themselves a year, or those living in rural areas, were the most likely to list it as their biggest employee engagement problem (44%).
Young business managers also find it most difficult to get workers off their phones with 34% of 18-34 year olds reporting it has their largest roadblock to employee engagement. Workers phones are consistently integrated into both personal and work life, it’s hard to incentivize workers to step away from the device and into a conversation with a fellow employee. Especially when 74% of employers report that their organization use or plan on using a BYOD program (bring your own device), the odds of getting distracted with social media or unrelated apps gets higher and higher.
Finally, women managers and small business owners (34%) were more likely than men (28%) to note that getting employees off their phones was the biggest challenge in getting them engaged.
One potential solution to this problem? Embrace employees’ device addictions rather than trying to cure them. For example, utilizing mobile scavenger hunts or mobile-friendly engagement surveys can help build a compromise and solution to the over-used phone issue. And if that doesn’t work, you can always just create a policy.
2. (24%) High turnover & getting new hires engaged
Losing employees more frequently in the worker-friendly job market and having to get new employees engaged more often is also a considerable issue for small business owners and managers. It’s most pressing in rural areas (29%), where it’s probably harder to find new talent that fits with an organization.
Turnover rates as a barrier to employee engagement were of most concern to managers and business owners in the midwest and south, and of least concern to those in the northeast.
That’s one reason it’s important to factor company culture into an interview process, then get creative with the flexibility options for your employees. In other words, give your employees reason to stay. Then work on the engagement from there.
3. (23%) Getting multigenerational employees engaged
The third most pressing issue for small business owners and managers is the battle between Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials being waged within multi-generational workplaces.
Generational differences can be a stumbling block that hinders employee engagement within an organization. On one hand, you have 45% of Baby Boomers & Gen X complaining about millennial’s lack of managerial experience while, on the other hand, you have millennials who just want some flexibility and fun.
It was interesting to see that getting multigenerational employees engaged was actually the most pressing employee engagement issue (28%) for respondents that were 35-44 years old. These folks find themselves toeing the line between the two diverging generations in the workplace.
So what’s the best thing to do in this situation? Find common ground. Satisfy both sides by creating activities that all can partake in. Food and laughter are pretty effective across generational lines. So is getting outdoors!
4. (22%) Getting remote and virtual workers engaged
While the trend of remote working was the least pressing challenge for respondents, there were groups that found it more challenging than others. Managers and owners that earn more than $150,000 a year (presumed to be working within larger organizations) found it to be the biggest hurdle to achieving employee engagement (43%).
While sweet in the sense that it breeds more freedom for workers around the world, its lack of in-person interaction can become a bitter challenge for many companies seeking strong employee engagement. In fact, 65% of remote employees report that they have never had a team-building session.
To address this issues, owners and managers may want to embrace the small talk and chit-chat online. When workers aren’t in the same office they don’t have the interactions that allow them to truly relate to each other on a personal level. Opening up internal communication platforms like Slack and HipChat, and encouraging workers to express themselves outside of work dialogue (hello GIF’s!), is important.
Another idea? Coffee Shop Days! While remote workers and work-from-home freelancers may appreciate their time outside the office, they can become bored and lonely. If you have workers on your team working remotely, consider suggesting a Coffee Shop Day a month where you join them and work alongside for the day.
Finally, there are actually virtual team building and engagement activities out there that stimulate a day in the life of a virtual team.
Ice breakers and puzzle games have their place, but sometimes you just want to get together as a group, and play. Here at TeamBonding, encouraging play is what we’re all about! When you play as a team, you develop and strengthen social bonds, which makes working together a more rewarding experience all around. With this in mind, we’re excited to share a free game for you to play with your team the next time you need to relax and have some fun.
Communication affects teamwork in positive and negative ways. The quantity and quality of communication within a team and from leadership affects teamwork. The more collaboration your projects require the more assertive and intentional your communication should be. Every member of the team needs to take the initiative to communicate. When a team is not actively communicating, their work is at stake. It’s important for everyone to learn how to communicate effectively in order to work effectively. (more…)
It’s one thing to create an atmosphere of trust and a feeling of camaraderie between employees when they’re all in the same building 40 or so hours a week.
Know each other as people, not just professionals. We’re all so much more than our job titles. We have interests that may have drawn each of us to our roles and help us excel within them. There are easy team building icebreaker activities for work that will help you and your team bond and get to know each other as more than just your role in the office. (more…)
It’s easy… right? You just need to find the right people with the right skills, put them in a room together, and you have a well-oiled team. They’re smart, and they know their stuff: they’ll figure out how to get the work done…except it doesn’t always work out that way. (more…)
I’m Michael Carroll – business enthusiast, student and currently TeamBonding marketing and sales intern. This fall as part of my internship I will be focusing on increasing SEO traffic and analyzing sales processes. In my posts, I’m going to be sharing some of my young, but wise expertise and bringing you behind the scenes. I’ll be posting blogs on what goes on during these activities while using my observations to share my experiences. This time team building came to TeamBonding with ice sculpting.
Believe it or not, you can have fun at work! Switch things up at the office and try some new, fun team building activities for work to get everyone energized.
The numbers are staggering.
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