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Why Is Your Employee Engagement Program Not Working?

I am an associate content marketer for Springworks. I write about HR and some best practices organizations should consider.


Workplace engagement is not a one-time static thing. It requires new ideas and creativity every now and then. Some organizations even overlook the need for a good engagement program.

What they’re failing to understand is that workplace engagement creates an impact on the business as well. According to Gallup's Perspective Paper on Employee Engagement and Development, employee engagement affects key business outcomes and increases profitability by 21%.

Before we jump into facts and reasons, let’s first get a clear picture of what engagement is.

What is Employee Engagement?

As Forbes defines it, “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.”

Engagement means instilling a sense of welcoming and ownership to the employees. When employees are effectively engaged within their organization, they care more about it. They are involved and focused on the well-being of the organization and to help it grow rather than just a monthly paycheck

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Why is your employee engagement program not working?

Here are some major reasons behind the failure of employee engagement programs:

  • Lack of ownership by the employees:

    When employees think that engagement is only “management’s job”, it is going in the wrong direction. Employees need to understand that it requires enough participation by them as well.

    When the management makes their share of attempts to better engage the employees, they need to be involved in the attempt. Their share of contribution is as important as the management’s.

  • Poor communication:

    Companies need to maintain transparency when it comes to communicating the goals and vision of the company. This makes the employees feel out of place and creates a gap between them and the company.

    To ensure clarity, communicate these goals to the employees and explain how each of them can help the company achieve those.

  • Lack of recognition:

    No matter how much you’re paying to your employees, if they do not feel valued and recognized within the company, they won’t stick beside the company. Every company needs to follow a proper recognition structure where the hard work of the employees is brought out in front of everyone.

    This can be either monetary or non-monetary. Eventually, serving the purpose is what is important.

  • Bringing out the core values of a company:

    The organization’s core values showcase how they want to treat their employees- if they want to be an employee-centric organization or not. These values should have clarity amongst the management as well as the employees.

    This helps in understanding the key purpose that your engagement program needs to hold.

  • Lack of engagement in its true sense:

    Engagement is the genuine willingness to interact. Just mentioning the goals or targets is not enough. You need to come up with effective strategies, the challenges that might come in the way, and their solutions.

  • Pressure plans:

    When management sees the engagement dropping, the pressure leads to trying out hundreds of different strategies to see what’s effective.
    This, in turn, leads to more confusion and adds to the already cluttered engagement. These strategies are not effectively thought through and tend to be futile over a year. And, before you know, you are back in the same place again.

  • Static Approach: As mentioned above, engagement is a dynamic process. It is situational and depends on an individual basis.

    However, it is necessary to create a structure which considers a wider section of employees and is ever-changing. It requires creativity every now and then to cater to newer requirements. The program should be flexible to changes.

Some more tips and tricks:

  • Take regular feedback from your employees to analyze what is working out better for them. This always gives them a sense of value showcasing that their opinions matter.
  • Be a good listener and practice what you preach in front of your employees. They tend to follow their seniors and their practices.
  • Employees need to be accountable for employee engagement as well. This involves participation in engagement activities, taking initiatives, and finding new ways.
  • Better communication is the most basic yet the most important requirement for effective engagement.
  • Have an engaged management first. This will make it easier to coordinate and pass it on to the employees.

There are plenty of other challenges which can disrupt the effectiveness of your employee engagement programs. What you can do is identify those challenges and resolve them step by step logically. Rushing into multiple, futile ideas will only lead to a more negative impact. Identify the concerns your employees are facing and fix the entire strategy accordingly.

Companies often feel that engagement is all about employees. That is where they are wrong. Employee engagement is beneficial for both the employees as well as them.

An engaged employee feels more involved within the workplace. This naturally inspires them to give their best performance and contribute better towards the organization.

© 2022 Dhristi Shah

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