Engaged workforce

Caroline Mboijana. PHOTO/FILE 

What you need to know:

I conducted an employee engagement survey, and many said their daily experience in the workplace was lacking and not motivating

Dear Caroline,

My staff engagement levels have shifted in the last year. I have team members who show up to work, but their level of enthusiasm and participation is lower now than it used to be before the Covid-19 pandemic. I conducted an employee engagement survey, and many said their daily experience in the workplace was lacking and not motivating. How do I address this issue?


Hello Molly, allow me reassure you that what you currently face as a manager is not unique to you. This lack of engagement from the people you lead is dangerous if not addressed. Recognising that the last two years have taken a toll on all employees is essential. Many have had an opportunity to re-evaluate their self-purpose, including their purpose at work. In the past, HR managers would focus, among other issues, on making the workplace fun. This traditionally looked at transactional activities such as parties, benefits, increased salary etc. This is not to say they are not essential, but employee needs have shifted.

In addressing the issue, you may need to dig deeper to understand the employee’s perspective. Employees want more than what they have now. This includes having a clear vision of how they, as individuals, add value to the organisation’s success and how they are rewarded. In addition, the needs and wants have become more tangible, and they are looking for long-term sustainable rewards and recognition. This could include self-development and growth. This area has become more important as people realise that the playing field has changed with technology. They most likely want to be a part of a progressive institution that does meaningful work.

While you may have a limited influence on changing the organisation’s purpose, the challenge is to lead and manage the team’s accountabilities in a progressive and inventive manner. This could also include opening up and allowing team members to bring their ideas to the table so they can be considered practical organisational interventions. Leadership style and management also need to change as the dynamics of what needs to be addressed have changed. How we manage the change is equally important. Start with having one on one sessions with your team to fully understand the root cause of the problem.

Good luck

Caroline Mboijana,

Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U)  [email protected]