Is Your Team Tuning Out?

5 Strategies to re-engage employees

How engaged is your staff?

Though they may appear motivated, a recent Robert Half survey found workers are disengaged one-quarter (26 percent) of the time. If your employees are checking out a few hours or more each day, productivity and efficiency can suffer.

So, how can you reduce worker disengagement and help your team feel more in the game and motivated to excel? 

Every employee is different, so there is no single solution. But, applying all or some of the following ideas – based on workers' responses to the aforementioned survey – could have a positive impact on most everyone in the organization.


How can better perks reduce worker disengagement? 

Look at it this way: The more you can do for your staff, the more they will feel valued. That, in turn, can make them want to work harder for the firm. And a healthy percentage of respondents – 37 percent – said they believe upgraded perks would, in fact, help them feel more engaged.

What type of perks are most employees looking for?

According to the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide, the three most coveted benefits are flexible work schedules, compressed workweeks and telecommuting options. Essentially, most professionals are looking for opportunities to explore work-life balance. 

More paid time-off is another perk to consider. The Salary Guide reports job-seekers today are expecting employers to offer an average 14 days of paid time-off annually. However, most companies only offer 10, on average, to employees who have less than five years' tenure with the organization.



Nearly one-third (31 percent) of workers surveyed said they'd be more engaged on the job if their assignments were more stimulating. To ensure your accounting and finance staffers aren't bored, offer new assignments and diverse work opportunities whenever possible. They will welcome the chance to expand skills and experiences.

Just be careful not to overwhelm your people.

Find out how your employees feel about their current assignments and workload volume before adding more to their to-do lists. Perhaps you'll discover opportunities to automate some routine tasks – like reconciliation and report generation – so your staff members will have more time to engage in value-adding work for the firm.


The need to jump through hoops and navigate red tape, day in and day out, just to get basic work done is enough to make anyone check out. In the survey on worker disengagement, 31 percent of respondents said too much bureaucracy is a drag that drives them to distraction.

As a department leader, there's a lot you can do to reduce bureaucracy. Review approval procedures to see where you could eliminate a step or two from a sign-off process, for instance. You could also empower your team to make decisions without having to check in with management. Fewer hassles help employees enjoy their work more – and be more productive.


Twenty-two percent of respondents to the worker disengagement survey points to too much work as the main reason they disengage while on the job. Temporarily disconnecting at work is how some cope under the pressure.

A manageable workload can do a ot to increase employees' morale and job satisfaction. You may need to enlist extra help to reduce the pressure that can easily lead to worker disengagement. Consider bringing in interim professionals to ease the burden on your full-time employees during peak periods.


Help your staff develop camaraderie with their coworkers. Social activities can go a long way toward reducing worker disengagement. This also creates a corporate culture that attracts top talent. In fact, 22 percent of professionals say more frequent social outings with their team members would increase their engagement at work.

Here are some easy-to-implement team-building activities that will help bring people together without busting your firm’s budget:

  • Catered lunch on the last Friday of the month, with pub-like trivia quizzes
  • Monthly trips to the bowling alley, with free pizza and drinks for your employees
  • Working on community service projects together, such as building homes or organizing food supplies for families in need
  • An annual staff retreat at a local state park, followed by a picnic and fun activities

For the best results, try to implement as many of the above ideas as possible. (Consider polling your staff first to see which ideas appeal to them most.) Even though it can take time, budget and a little creativity to keep your employees feeling engaged, the effort — and ongoing investment — will result in a more motivated and happier workplace.

Andrew Murtagh is the Colorado regional vice president for Robert Half Technology, the leading provider of information technology (IT) professionals on project and full-time basis.

Categories: Management & Leadership