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How to Diminish Employee Engagement Without Even Trying

Posted by Maggie Millard

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Jul 2, 2014 3:11:00 PM

Employee EngagementThe value of employee engagement can’t really be overstated, yet business leaders often struggle with increasing rates of disengagement.  In fact, Gallup found that 70% of American workers are not actively engaged.  Why?  Most managers and executives aren’t trying to discourage engagement.  Rather, it happens as a result of inaction and lack of attention. You may be helping to accidently diminish employee engagement if you…

Fail to Invite Employee Input

There are people in your organization who know how to solve important problems, improve customer satisfaction, and eliminate waste.  But most won’t tell you if you don’t ask.  Inviting input is the same as inviting employee engagement.  People become most interested in and invested in the ideas that they invent.  This turns into the energy that is essential to make progress happen.

Don’t Act on Employee Ideas

The corollary to inviting input is using it.  Asking for ideas only to ignore them is a recipe for creating disengaged employees.  Not only is it a slight, it is also a waste, as employee ideas have helped companies save millions and identify new revenue streams.

Turning Ideas into Improvement

Horde Information

The most engaged employees report having a clear picture of the strategic direction of the company and trust in its leadership.  Trust is built through transparency and candor.  Challenging times call for more communication, not less as staff needs to have confidence that the executive team has a plan of action.

Ignore Relationships

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day struggles of business and forget that each employee is a unique individual who is working for a reason.  In fact, employees report that they become disengaged and eventually leave companies when their managers fail to take interest in their personal lives and don't help them achieve a reasonable work/life balance.

Withhold Feedback

Some managers find it surprising that the data shows employees crave feedback, both positive and negative.  They want to have a clear understanding of their expected contribution and active coaching to help them do their best work. 

Webinar Recording: How to Ease the Pain of Change

Forget to Acknowledge

Just as employees want feedback as they work toward objectives, they also have a human need for recognition when they are successful.  Rewarding hard work and active engagement encourages more of the same.  Effective recognition doesn’t even have to include financial rewards, as public acknowledgment of achievement can go a long way toward employee satisfaction.

None of these behaviors are active wrongs, rather they are lapses of attention and intention toward employee engagement; perhaps that’s why the problem of disengagement is so common.  Those who want to improve engagement might consider implementing a structure or process to help keep it front of mind.  The rewards of engaged employees are certainly worth the effort to create and maintain it.

Topics: Employee Engagement

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