Employee engagement is off the rails. In its 2013 State of the Global Workplace report, Gallup found that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. Think about that for a minute. It means the vast majority of workers, an estimated 900 million people, are “emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive.”(1)
Put another way, it means only “about one in eight workers -- roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied -- are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.” The estimated economic impact is catastrophic. Gallup projects active disengagement costs the U.S. economy $450-$550 billion each year.(1)
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Companies with higher levels of employee engagement report significantly higher productivity, profitability and customer ratings, along with less turnover and absenteeism, and fewer safety incidents, compared to companies with low employee engagement.(2) So, what can we do as individual employees, managers and leaders to chip away at the problem and get engagement back on track?
Infographic: Want More Engaged Employees?
Employee engagement is a complex issue with many influencing factors, as outlined in the Gallup report. There is also mounting research analyzing the increasing rate of distraction and multitasking in the workplace. Our attention is constantly being hijacked by notifications, task switching and the overwhelming temptation to multitask anytime, anyplace. As illustrated in our recent infographic “The High Cost of Multitasking,” it is a consequence of the always-on, connected world we live in today.
We must also consider the impact our increasingly mobile and dispersed workforce is having on employee engagement. Gartner estimates 75% of project work is now done by distributed, virtual teams.(3) At the same time, staying “in-sync” and “connected” are identified as two core challenges for remote and mobile workers.(4)
Meetings remain a primary way virtual teams connect and align, so FuzeBox sponsored a survey looking into meeting behavior and engagement. Our survey found multitaskers run rampant when not face-to-face. In fact, 92% of respondents admitted to multitasking during meetings, and 41% admitted to doing it “often” or “all the time.” However, the extent varied by meeting type - 56% said they are likely to multitask more often on phone conferences and 23% during web conferences. Engagement was likely to be better during in-person meetings (16%) and video conferences (4%).
Video conferencing is shown to improve engagement, discussions, and decision-making among virtual teams(5), but the technology has been unreliable, complex, costly, and not widely accessible across organizations and devices. That is changing. Cloud services like FuzeBox are bringing reliable, high-quality video collaboration across devices with a freemium service that puts it within reach of nearly any worker.
Many factors influence employee engagement. There is no silver bullet. The key is to create a strategy and start chipping away at the problem from multiple angles. Meetings are a relatively easy place to start and efforts can produce quick results. With flexible, freemium tools like FuzeBox, you can start with no risk and bring better focus and engagement to meetings today.
Here are a few simple changes that can have a big impact:
- Cut down on meeting length – push your team to cover key topics in less time. Give people time back in their day. Experiment with 15-20 minute meetings.
- Prepare an agenda in advance and stick to it.
- Start and end meetings on time. Attendees will have greater focus.
- Integrate video conferencing to reduce multitasking during meetings. It will foster better engagement and stronger team dynamics, especially among remote employees.
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