Attention is your most important resource after your people. But businesses need to be careful where they allocate it and how they sustain it. A company’s employee experience strategy can help to discover what keeps employees focused on the job and lead to increased productivity.
In our current work environments, there is a large waste of attention: unnecessary meetings, multitasking demands and constant emails. In this environment, you must take steps to safeguard your attention and encourage your workforce to do the same. If you don’t, then engagement, performance and profit will suffer.
“As a leader…your principal job is to create an operating environment where others can do great things.” – Richard Teerlink
Why they’ve stopped paying attention
Information overload can be a key factor. Employees spend on average 20 hours a week managing e-mail and consider 1 in 3 unnecessary. It can be hard for them to differentiate what the important tasks are when their skillsets don’t match their jobs, or they are being asked to take on too much. This leads to long working days, a poor work-life balance and never-ending to-do lists.
Current research suggests that the surging volume of available information—and its interruption of people’s work—can adversely affect not only personal well-being but also decision making, innovation, and productivity. In one study, for example, people took an average of nearly 25 minutes to return to a work task after an e-mail interruption. That’s bad news for both individuals and their organisations.
Employees can become tired and unmotivated if they feel there is a lack of support in managing their workload and that they are not being listened to.
How having an effective employee experience strategy can help
Listening to employees’ needs and creating manageable workloads will make a big difference. This is why regular personal development reviews and staff surveys where people feel that their feedback will be taken into account are important.
If people slow down you can be sure something has happened to upset them. If some of the team are doing less work or the quality lowers, you need to communicate with them and find out what is wrong.
- Recruit right
Make sure to match skill-sets to the right job. People get frustrated and lose drive when their needs aren’t met. You should make sure they have clear goals from the start and a belief in their ability to complete the task. Remember that your employees are your brand.
- Be innovative
Consider different ways of working to help employees manage their time.
For instance guidelines specifying the preferred communication channels for different types of information. E-mail could be reduced significantly if group newsletters and announcements were posted on a company intranet which pulls in people seeking the information instead of pushing it at them.
- Set an example
Companies also need to establish organisational norms for electronic communication and senior executives should set an example. No employee wants to be the first to abandon a practice that contributes to e-mail overload, such as sending weekly reports to all division heads simply to maintain visibility.
- Challenge your workforce
Individuals have so many talents and potential and sometimes it only takes someone who believes in their potential and their capabilities, someone who encourages them to get out of their comfort zone and shows them how great they can be. Ensure that you provide a challenging and dynamic work environment where they can thrive. Provide guidance and give them space to excel in their work.
- Seek out a smile culture
If the office mood is off people are not engaged in their work. If there are no smiles, staff won’t stay. Smiling can be a sign that staff are focused but not overwhelmed. It’s important that your staff are relaxed and the work environment is key for this.
Introducing spaces for staff to be creative and even benefits like yoga sessions and subsidised bicycles can help to keep up attention levels.
Get the workplace culture and environment right in creative ways like the stand-out organisations are doing.
In the corporate world, working hours are stretched longer and longer, but there are still only 24 hours in the day. An effective employee engagement strategy ensures that your people are happy and know what they should be paying attention to and have channels to feedback on what distracts them. With all this in place, they will do great things for your company.