Managing a business when you can step out onto the floor and see your staff hard at work is tough. Managing a workforce that’s spread across multiple locations, and not contactable via a laptop or PC, is so much harder.

Emails won’t reach them.

They’re not always able to answer the phone.

They’re not going to visit a page or portal online to get updates on the business.

So how do you keep them engaged, motivated and working hard for you? What if it’s already too late? Here are nine signs that you have an employee engagement problem. (And some advice to fix it.)


1. Your rules and regulations aren’t being followed

For health and safety, insurance and general quality control, you’ve introduced rules, policies and procedures that you need your staff to follow. You’ve communicated them to your managers to pass on. You’ve put posters up in all of your sites. You’ve even tried sending employees letters. However, the rules are not being followed and it’s putting your team and the business at risk.

2. You spend more time nagging than you do praising

As rules aren’t being followed, you and your managers spend more time than you’d like to reprimanding staff. It’s creating an uncomfortable working environment. Plus, you’re nowhere near getting to a position to start recognising and rewarding good work. This means high performers are ignored and become demotivated and quality of work drops further.

3. You’re not clear on how to inspire and motivate your staff

With no means to communicate with your team effectively, you don’t have a relationship with them. This means you know very little about them, what drives them and how to reengage them. As a result, you’re unable to learn from problems and things get worse.

4. Employees take a lot of sick days and absences

You know you have an employee engagement problem when staff don't even bother to show up for work. If they don’t care about doing a good job for you, they won’t worry about taking too many sick days, being late or absent. This in turn affects operations, your business reputation, and ultimately, sales.

5. Training takes a long time and you’re unsure of how much each member of staff requires

Without a formal system in place to review every employee’s performance and training record, you don’t have a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses. As a result, you end up sending people on unnecessary training courses or missing gaps in their knowledge. This therefore makes the training process a large and ineffective expense.

6. Money is the only thing that keeps staff

Because you’re not spotting and rewarding good work, and you’re unable to motivate your staff. You're not giving them training, nights out or whatever else it is they need. Instead, you end up having to pay higher salaries than your competitors just to keep your team from jumping ship. This would be fine if you were paying for the best but because you are unable to enforce training and check progression, the priority is having enough staff, not having the best staff.

7. Turnover is high

Even though you offer higher salaries, staff are still leaving, seeking proof of the rumours they’ve heard about the better working conditions offered by your competitors. This high turnover means there is disruption to operations and you have to pay out for expensive temporary staff to plug gaps.

8. Recruiting is hard work

With so many people moving on, and little in the way of training, progression and other benefits available to offer to new staff, the recruitment process is very difficult. As a result, it all comes down to salary. On top of this and the recruitment costs, time is required to onboard new team members which means your most experienced staff are taken away from the job at hand to train.

9. Your PR team is doing more firefighting than promoting your business

What starts out small – a few errors or late deliveries – if not spotted and fixed, lead to much bigger issues. If quality control is not being enforced, and if staff don’t care about doing the best job they can, bigger things occur, leading to injury, complaints and legal suits. If your business is big enough, you may have already been subject to some media enquiries, forcing you to divert your marketing budget to crisis communications support. Negative press leads to unhappy customers, even less engaged staff, and an even harder recruitment process.

It’s a scary picture we’ve painted and it’s unlikely you face all of these problems but it is wise to make a change before the situation gets worse.

What can you do to fix it?

Fortunately, all of these problems can be solved, even if your staff are not desk based or use laptops or PCs. You can put a mobile phone app-based system in place for your remote workforce that enables two-way communication, training, rewards, holiday tracking, job booking and more. Operating as a mobile intranet, all employees have access to the system wherever they are and whatever they are doing. For more details or a demo of StaffCircle, click here.

Each employee can see their performance, training schedule and progression opportunities. They can learn about the business and their colleagues. They can opt in to acquire new skills and qualifications and build a closer working relationship with their line manager through regular evaluation and recognition features.

Just because you can’t see your staff, doesn’t mean you can’t empower them to work hard for you and love your business as much as you do. The sooner you take action, the easier it will be to solve.