Why 90% of Europeans are “lazy” at work – and what does “Game of Thrones” have to do with it?

According to a Gallup study, only 10 percent of employees in Western Europe are truly engaged in the workplace. The rest are poorly engaged and often just sit back “from call to call,” doing only the bare minimum that helps not to get out of the company. The situation looks especially alarming in the UK, where the number of interested employees is about 8% and steadily declining.

We have studied dozens of studies about the labor market in the U.S. and Europe to gather for you the most “fat” statistics. No assumptions, just bare facts, figures, and scientific data.

Why Businesses Should Invest in Employee Engagement: 4 Reasons

Constant employee turnover and employees who aren’t working, but serving time is a problem familiar to many companies. The bad news is that there is no single correct solution, any option will cost the business either costs or financial losses. The second news is no better: engaging existing staff is not much easier than hiring new ones.

If the wedge is everywhere, why invest in team development after all?

Reason 1: Engaged teams have 41% less absenteeism

It would seem obvious: When you get a job, you have to show up and work. But no strict fines and rigid contracts do not protect against the usual domestic slackness. In the United States alone, the total cost of absenteeism and lost productivity is $84 billion a year.

Reasons for absenteeism vary: for example, one-third of Americans surveyed faked illness or were late for work while the new season of Game of Thrones was on. With a prequel about to hit the screens, employers should be concerned about engagement – or lead this fall into the abyss.

Reason 2: Finding new employees costs U.S. businesses about $3 million a day

According to a study by HR company Zenefits, 81% of companies cite employee turnover as a “costly problem.” And it’s not surprising: 88% of employees who have been with the organization for more than six months are already considering new offers.

And it’s not always about salary: 74% of young professionals would even agree to a reduction in salary in exchange for the opportunity to get a job at a dream company.

However, if values of business and employee are different, the person is burned out or simply not interested in his tasks, even promotion (15% of respondents) or salary raises (33%) will not be able to make him work better. Or at least just work.

Reason 3: Companies with high team engagement are 21% more profitable

It’s not obvious, but it’s a fact: To make more money, you just have to work. An engaged team isn’t just a pretty line in HR reports, but real numbers in accounting summaries.

According to the same Gallup study, the interest of employees, even in some departments, allows you to get more profits without additional investment.

In the long run, team involvement yields even more fruit and helps increase business revenues fourfold. James Hesketh, a professor at Harvard Business School who has studied the corporate culture of 200 companies for 11 years, has come to the conclusion that the organizations that cared about corporate values, encouraged initiative and valued their employees increased their income by 682% during the experiment. Over the same period, revenues at companies that didn’t focus on team development increased by only 166%.

Reason 4: Boredom and a “glass ceiling” are the reason 33% of employees quit

According to the Korn Ferry survey, one in three professionals who are “in search” cites boredom, lack of interesting tasks and career growth as the main reasons for leaving the company.

It is not enough to hire a great specialist – you also need to engage and retain him or her. Thus, according to SHRM, 41% of employees directly attribute their interest to opportunities for professional development. At the same time, only a third of those surveyed were satisfied with their organization’s career horizon.

In order to build long-term relationships with employees, businesses need to be as transparent as possible in showing prospects and opportunities for development within the company. Up to 87% of millennials believe this aspect is important.

How to increase employee engagement: Top 4 tips

No. 1: Maintain communication within the team

In pre-COVID times, the words “team building” and “corporate party” were often considered abusive – largely because of the questionable organization of leisure time and unwillingness to see colleagues more than 8 hours per weekday. Remoteness and pandemonium changed the attitude to informal meetings, as well as to any communication in principle – people began to feel disconnected and lonely more often.

So, the study, conducted by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Sacramento, showed: loneliness has a negative impact on productivity, teamwork and commitment of employees.

What to do:

  • Organize online and offline events. Not only daily rallies, but all sorts of quests, online quizzes, and other things that make the team feel like a community.
  • Don’t miss important dates. Informal congratulations are a good way to remind that the same people with their own joys and feelings work together.
  • Create a flood chamber. Yes, keeping your work chats in order is necessary if you don’t want to search for work stuff in a flood of memes and offtops or put the group on mute, risking missing important notifications. But the team still needs to “blow off steam” – and general chats-floodies are good for that. It’s the manager’s job to encourage this kind of off-topic.
  • Hold pitches or training sessions within the team. It’s important that this doesn’t become a story about coercion. Choose engaging topics and share interesting information.
  • Introduce the practice of watching things together. For example, profile events.

No. 2: Celebrate Employee Achievements

84% of highly engaged professionals regularly receive positive feedback from management about their accomplishments. By comparison, among those who left “on their own,” only one in four talked about their accomplishments positively.

What to do:

  • Give feedback: hold 1-to-1 meetings with employees in which you note not only the failures, but also the positive results.
  • Praise in front of everyone, scold in private: if there was a wow breakthrough or the person did something extraordinary, it’s worth noting it at the team meeting.
  • Don’t forget to review salary and working conditions. As the professional progresses, expect to see an improvement in his position, perks, and a fee raise, all of which go well with an increase in his responsibilities and authority.

#3: Optimize internal processes

Indifference to the quality of internal business processes can “finish off” employees’ commitment to work.

According to Business News Daily, email overload and meaningless meetings are the top 2 pain points for many people. ⅔ experts note that about 20% of the emails they receive have nothing to do with them.

What to do:

  • Organize your workspace. Spread out important chats and floodgates, scheduling rallies and informal meetings so that your team has time to work.
  • Spell out job responsibilities. If a person is given a job profile when they are hired, it is clear to them what the employer expects of them in a particular position and how to meet those expectations.
  • Collect feedback. Sometimes familiar patterns of work can seriously compromise its quality – if something can be optimized at little cost, it’s worth paying attention to it. And when employees understand that they are being heard – they will be more loyal to the company, even if there are imperfections.

#4: Promote the company’s mission

Having a real, not “de jure” mission and purpose also helps keep employees interested.

What to do:

  • Translate the mission from the slogan on the website into the routine life of the company, from business processes to merchandise. It shouldn’t just be pretty words for a tick, but part of the team’s daily routine. Employees who see the added moral value in what they do perform better.
  • Match the team by values. People who have the same attitudes about life and the world around them are more likely to find common ground. At the same time, even a superprofi, if his views differ, will either become a toxic, destructive to the team, or will withdraw into himself and lose productivity.
  • Develop corporate social responsibility. Now it is difficult to find a person who does not donate in one way or another – for humanitarian or military purposes. The company can become an intermediary and unite the team in this process.