4 Employee Engagement Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Developing ongoing strategies for employee engagement can be, in a word, challenging. These strategies vary greatly between industry sectors, and employers can benefits greatly from keeping their employees motivated, satisfied, and engaged. Unfortunately, despite the resources at their disposal, some employers are stuck in their ways and carry out strategies that aren’t so conducive to their success.

Here are just a few universal mistakes your business may be making when it comes to keeping employees engaged.

Developing Strategies From the Top Down

This is a surprisingly common mistake that can lead to disengaged employees. There’s a common saying about employee engagement: ‘employee engagement starts at the top.’ This essentially means that management and top company officials must acknowledge embrace all engagement strategies for them to be successful company-wide. Unfortunately, some employers think that this means it’s solely their job to design these strategies. But leaving out the input of lower level employees is a big mistake.


All employees like to feel as though they have a voice, and giving them the chance to help develop strategies for engagement increases the likelihood that they’ll continue to grow.

Also read: How To Create An Employee Engagement Strategy

The bottom line? Work with your employees — not for them — to develop and implement company-wide strategies conducive to success and engagement.

Not Recognizing (And Eliminating) Blame Culture

While it’s important to give employees a balanced level of freedom regarding their ability to make decisions, this doesn’t mean they should take full blame if something happens to go wrong. Pointing fingers at employees and placing blame only makes employees less likely to step up, take initiative, and collaborate with fellow employees in the future.

Instead, remember that to get the most from your employees, criticism can’t be your first response when someone makes a mistake. It’s up to you to determine how everyone can learn from it without placing blame.

“We need to be supportive; we need to be tolerant of mistakes as they are part of the growth cycle. That doesn’t mean we should be blind to poor performance, but mistakes happen, especially if we are taking on difficult tasks. If we are too critical of our teams, don’t be surprised if all decisions get deferred back to you”, writes Gordon Tredgold on Inc.

Not Tracking Employee Engagement Properly

Though most companies have some sort of measurement when it comes to determining the current level of employee engagement, not many know how to interpret the results of their survey results and make them useful. For this reason, experts recommend structuring your measurement system using four basic components:

  1. Format: What type of concrete measurement will you use to quantify engagement?
  2. Baseline: where does your company currently stand in terms of employee engagement?
  3. Benchmark: where do other similar companies stand in comparison?
  4. Goal: What is the objective of the next employee engagement initiative?

Also read: Using Technology to Improve Engagement and Boost Productivity

Setting a goal with a specific time frame in mind is also essential to success. Above all, you won’t get results you can truly improve with unless you structure your measurement system using these factors.

Not Actively Looking For Signs of Disengagement

Though setting a concrete measuring system for engagement is undoubtedly essential, no measuring system can actively seek out signs of disengagement; that’s a job best left to management. But don’t think that you’ll be able to catch on simply by hearing employees talk about their work frustrations. No — signs of disengagement are much more subtle.

“Gossip, chatter, and complaining are outward manifestations of fear, worry, and anxiety, but not necessarily disengagement. Employees who are communicative still care about the company. The real indicators of being disengaged are quite the opposite. Do you hear it? Of course you don’t — because there’s nothing to hear. When an employee is disengaged, chances are you won’t hear a peep until they hand you a letter of resignation. Remember, disengaged looks a lot like content at first glance”, writes John Whitaker on TINYpulse.

When it comes down to it, employee engagement is about making sure each and every voice is recognized and heard, no matter how small. When all employees do their best to communicate and collaborate properly, anything is possible.

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