by Richard Carufel | October 28, 2015

bulldogPoor employee engagement costs companies billions. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report, U.S. companies lose between $450 billion and $550 billion due to employee disengagement. To respond to this critical need, employers are attempting to initiate and measure employee engagement programs. However, according to a new installment of theEMPLOYEEapp‘s 2015 Mobile Trends in the Workplace survey, which polled corporate and internal communications professionals at more than 300 companies, the question still remains whether these programs—and the ways companies are communicating with their workforces—are effective.

According to the survey, 71 percent of employers have employee engagement initiatives in place. However, of those, only one third (37 percent) believe their employees are engaged. Respondents indicated that half of their employees are “somewhat” engaged and 12 percent believe engagement is a significant problem.

“Employee engagement continues to be a major challenge for companies and it is the number one challenge we hear from the many internal communications and human resource professionals that we speak to daily,” said Jeff Corbin, founder and CEO of theEMPLOYEEapp, in a news release. “As the workforce population continues to skew younger, employers are now being forced to think outside of the box and reimagine how employee engagement can be accomplished. Based on the results of our survey, there is a lot of room for improvement.”

How are employers combating poor employee engagement?

To address the problem of poor employee engagement, approximately half of the companies surveyed said they conduct baseline surveys and are using the results to build and modify programs. When it comes to building and implementing engagement programs, the following tactics and strategies were utilized most by the responding companies:

  • Training courses (72 percent)
  • Open door policies (71 percent)
  • Flex time and telecommuting (68 percent)
  • Reimbursement or paying for industry memberships (61 percent)
  • Tuition reimbursement (59 percent)
  • Employee assistance programs (59 percent)

Employer/employee communications strategies have not changed.

As was identified in previous segments of the survey, the ability for employees to easily access information and to be more productive in their work directly correlates to enhanced employee engagement. In addition, the frequency and method of communications are of significant importance. The latest installment of the survey confirmed these findings, this time from the perspective of the employer.

Employers agreed that the way in which a company communicates with employees directly impacts engagement (91 percent). However, given the changing demographic of employees and, in particular, Millennials, they don’t feel their companies use enough digital communications tools to communicate. Rather, old-school communications methods like email (98 percent) and face-to-face communications (90 percent) are the norm. Corporate intranets were cited as a distant third method of employee communications. Interestingly, notwithstanding the proliferation of mobile technology over the past several years, only 16 percent indicated that mobile applications are used by their companies to communicate with employees.

Corbin concluded, “Parts I and II of our survey focused on what employees want and need from their employers from a communications and engagement perspective. The results of Part III, which solicited feedback from employers, echoed the employee sentiment. Not only do employers acknowledge the problems that their companies face with respect to engagement, but they also recognize the importance of communications to improving it. The failure of their companies to stay ahead of the technological curve and to appeal to the needs of their employees will only become more evident as lower productivity, due to lack of engagement, continues.”

To learn more about theEMPLOYEEapp’s 2015 Mobile Trends in the Workplace survey, view the blog and infographic here. You can also register for a free webinar that will take place on November 17th at 2 pm ET.

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