Insights for HR Professionals

Benefits to attract, engage and retain top talent.

10 Employee Engagement Killers You Should Fix Right Now

Posted by Liz Taurasi on 14 May 2015


Providing an environment that doesn’t allow your employees to thrive, having a lack of vision or not providing professional development opportunities, having a bad communication strategy or even not recognizing performance are some of the many ways you are hurting your workforce.

Below we compiled a list of 10 common obstacles to employee engagement. If you recognize any of these practices in your workplace, use this information to start changing behavior today so you'll improve your company culture and remain an employer of choice. 

  1. Toxicity
    When you have toxic employees in the mix – you know, the ones who are unhappy and spread negativity – it can quickly become a big problem in an organization, suffocating anything positive happening in the workplace. 

    Pro Tip: Hire smartly, including an assessment of whether applicants would be a cultural fit, and you’ll limit the likelihood of disengaged employees sinking your boat. 
  1. Lack of Professional Development
    Our modern workforce is hungry for professional development, so a lack of career growth and professional development opportunities can seriously stifle your employees’ motivation to get the job done and feel accomplished in their achievements. Millennials, in particular, want to feel good about where they work – and the belief that their organization is invested in their career growth can be a big part of that.  

  2. Ignoring Wins
    Employee recognition programs can help validate good work and inspire employees to challenge themselves to do more. Making your employees feel valued can be a key factor in driving employee productivity and engagement. It doesn’t have to be a major production, just acknowledging wins here and there is enough to inspire employees to keep innovating.

  3. Communication Breakdowns
    When employees are uncertain about a company’s goals and objectives and aren’t hearing what they need from their managers, it can be extremely detrimental to your business. A lack of communicated vision from the top can make even the best employees less effective.

    Find Out Why You're Losing Good Employees

  4. Bad Leadership
    A leader needs to be just that – someone who leads and can understand the different needs of different employees. Poor leadership can harm not only every member of a team, but also an entire organization. It’s true that employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers.

    In fact, bad leadership leads to problems with employee morale, contributes to high turnover and impacts sustainable success for the organization as a whole.

  5. Mismanaged Meetings
    Don’t make a meeting an hour when it can be done in a half hour. Don’t call for an in-person meeting, when it can be a quick phone call. Unnecessary meetings can lead to wasting your employees’ time, preventing them from, you know, doing their work. When you spend hour meeting on something that may only really need a few minutes, it leaves little time to actually get work done and breeds resentment among employees who feel like they need to make up for lost time.

    Read More About How Meeting Culture Kills Productivity

  6. Not Allowing Employees Proper Time to Recharge
    Life is hectic, and so is work. If you’re not giving your employees time to recharge – whether it’s weekends, nights or uninterrupted vacations – you’re really doing them a disservice. While most companies have vacation and PTO policies, technology has enabled the kind of high-motor, constant contact environments in which many employees don’t completely unplug or take the time they’ve earned.

    Pro Tip:  Don’t assume your employees are going to unplug. In 2013 alone, U.S. employees surrendered 169 million days of paid time off, totaling $52.4 billion in lost benefits, according to a US Travel Association report. These “donated work days” aren’t necessarily good for business though.

    Why You Should Kick Your Employees Out of the Office
  1. Lack of Appreciation
    Never underestimate how far a quick “Thank You” for a job well done goes with your employees. It’s not always about bonuses, or performance-driven accolades – a simple recognition of wins – whether big or small – is a signal to employees that their work matters. And that’s important.  

  2. Ineffective Training
    Inadequate employee training makes it impossible for new employees to know what’s expected of them, and leads to increased turnover rates. A new report from  gotoHR  indicates 40 percent of employees receiving poor training leave their positions in the first year, citing a lack of skills training and development as primary reasons for not sticking around.

  3. Forgetting to Listen
    Be open to feedback and willing to listen to your employees. If they voice concerns about expectations, hear them out and work together through the situation – they may just have a valid point.

Culture Guide

Subscribe to Care@Work's HR Professionals Blog
and receive insights straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to Email Updates