5 Factors that Create Employee Disengagement and What to Do About It

by May 31, 2017Employee Engagement Training

For those of us working toward increased levels of employee engagement, this is the face we dread seeing. It is often the face of a disengaged, overworked, frustrated or exasperated employee. Some call it the classic face of a “burnout”…just the opposite of what we strive for. We in employee engagement training want high levels of:

  • Advocacy – How positively employees think and speak highly of the organization and its leaders, managers, employees, products, quality and future outlook.
  • Discretionary Effort – How frequently employees think of ways to do their jobs better and go the extra mile to achieve great results.
  • Intent to Stay – How much employees want to be a part of and feel connected to the organization.

A recent Forbes article reports that 95% of all businesses are negatively affected by employee burnout – the exact opposite of the three engagement outcomes listed above.  Can you be sure your organization is in that rarified 5% that has escaped such a universal problem? It’s unlikely. What matters is that you do something about it.

This is not just about keeping employees happy; this problem hits the bottom line…hard. You need executive support, the resources they can muster and a sound plan.

Here are five factors that affect employee disengagement and what you can do about them:

  1. Compensation inequality
    Make sure your pay and benefits are in line with the competition and with the level of contribution. Our employee engagement research does not show that pay and benefits need to be greater than your competition, but total compensation should not be less than the market or unaligned with the contribution to the company. No matter how you slice it, underpaid workers are disengaged workers.

    If employees contribute to the organization’s success, they want to be recognized and treated fairly in return for their advocacy, discretionary effort and loyalty.

  2. Work overload
    There are times of course that you need to require workers to put in extra time and effort. When this is the case, make sure they understand why it is crucial to the company’s success, that it is a temporary situation, and that you recognize and appreciate their dedication to the job.

    Employees want to be able to adequately manage their work life balance, get help from members of their team when they have a heavy workload and feel like their stress level at work is manageable.

  3. Poor management
    Over and over employees cite a difficult relationship with their manager as a major reason for leaving. See that your managers have the training they need to do their job effectively and take employee complaints seriously.

    In a nutshell, employees want their managers to care about their growth and development, regularly give constructive feedback on their job performance and have open and honest communication about what matters most.

  4. Disconnect between job role and overall strategy
    Engaged employees know clearly how their job fits into the organization’s plan for success. They have their own sense of mission and derive satisfaction from actively contributing to the whole. Disengaged employees have no such clarity on why they are asked to do what they do. There is a “disconnect” between their role and the company purpose.

    Employees want to see the company’s plans for future success, understand how their job helps the organization succeed and know how they fit into the organization’s future plans.

  5. Negative corporate culture
    How things get done in the organization is the definition of corporate culture. Can you say employees operate ethically, cooperatively, and openly? If not, changes need to be made if you want to build a high performance organization. A sound company culture is not an HR “nice-to-have.” Workplace culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies and is absolutely critical to long-term business success.

Take stock of the health of your organization and do what you can to attract, develop, engage and retain top talent. That is your job as a leader.

To learn more, download The Top 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement.

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