7 Practices That Destroy Employee Engagement

3 min read
Oct 27, 2016

employee engagementIt’s no secret that employee engagement is a major issue at most organizations. A study by Deloitte found that 78% of business leaders report that it’s one of their top concerns.

Yet sometimes employers forget the fundamentals when it comes to employee engagement. They might say all the right things and even invest in making employees happier, but then make errors in how the business is run day to day. Here are the signs that despite the rhetoric, your company isnt genuine about its commitment to employee engagement:

The era of peer and personal accountability


01. Unreasonable expectations

Our research has found that 70% of workers feel that they haven’t achieved work-life balance. If you’re routinely asking employees to work late and reject reasonable requests for time off, then employees will think that the company doesn’t value them as people.

A similar problem is setting the bar ridiculously high, such as demanding that sales increase by 500% in a year. Employees will see this goal as unrealistic and won’t exert as much effort.

02. No voice for employees

Does your company actually value democracy? Or is it a top-down hierarchy in which executives make decisions and then tell employees after the fact? Today’s employees expect to have some say in what happens in the workplace. Companies that fail to provide an avenue for constructive feedback are less likely to have sustainable success.

03. Too much bureaucracy

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Nothing is more frustrating than having to jump through hoops just for the sake of “proper procedure.” If your employees need to get multiple levels of approval for basic things like sick days or business trips, then they’re less likely to be engaged at work. Same goes for an excessive number of meetings or burdening employees with other low-value tasks.

04. Other employees dropping the ball

Our Employee Engagement Report discovered that a major motivation killer is lack of employee follow-through, with 35% reporting this as a major problem. Similarly, many employees said they’re not able to live up to their potential because they’re always “putting out fires” rather than being allowed to work on meaningful projects. Fostering a culture of accountability is key for any employee engagement program.  

05. Poor communication

Lack of communication between executives, managers, and employees is an issue that keeps popping up. Nobody wants to be surprised about the company’s goals and objectives. Frequently check in with employees to make sure everyone is on the page.

06. Ignoring employee success

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It’s crucial to provide praise when employees have done well. Ensuring that your employees feel valued is a key aspect of engagement. Leaders who support their employees and provide meaningful feedback will, in turn, have a more cohesive team.

07. Playing favorites

Is only one employee or a small group of employees receiving positive feedback? Are they getting more face time with leaders? Other employees will notice when you’re playing favorites and begin believing that the game is rigged against them.

Avoiding these basic engagement killers is the first step toward having more motivated, focused employees. Establishing a healthy workplace environment isn’t easy, but it is essential for businesses that want to retain talent and remain competitive.



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