Top 5 Reasons Employees Are Disengaged at Work

Disengaged employees can be hugely costly to organisations in many different ways. Owners, leaders, and managers often don’t know how best to re-engage employees so that they can be at their productive best, and in many cases, it's not even clear if and why they are disengaged in the first place.


Over time, disengaged employees can harm the morale of entire teams - but why do employees lack engagement? We explore the most common reasons for a lack of engagement at work.

A Lack of Feedback

Not getting enough good quality feedback can be a leading cause of disengagement at work. If you are not giving your employees regular feedback, both positive and corrective then they will almost certainly not understand and acknowledge their strengths or areas of improvement.  This can lead to them feeling undervalued and unclear, meaning they may have doubts about whether they’re a good fit for their role in the organisation.

Poor Communication

In an era where we are often overloaded with communication mediums and content, poor communication is still worryingly common in businesses large and small.  Great communication means many things, but ‘two-way’, i.e. both consultative, specific, and proactive are useful principles.  Great communication is usually consistent and effective and must work for all, both up, down, and sideways across the organisation.  Failing to do this can lead to a whole host of issues, from a lack of feeling valued to a lack of clarity of expectations.

Leadership Behaviour

The behaviour of recognised leaders in any organisation is absolutely critical to how employees feel about the organisation they work for.  Leaders are by definition there to lead, and that usually means their every move and their behaviour is often the most ‘on show’ and is often scrutinised by others.

Great leaders are always visible, but again this carries the risk of unintended outcomes if their behaviours are based largely on a lack of self-awareness, i.e. they are not aware of their behaviour or how it impacts those around them.

Development Investment

Most employees are seeking a role and company that they can grow with - very few want to stagnate in a single stage of their career forever.  Not offering clear training and development options can put up a serious roadblock in your employees’ progression, and they will not be able to fully engage with their current position. Offering training keeps employees interested and growing, whereas minimal development can lead to you losing some of your most valuable assets.

Lack of Career ‘Line of Sight’

Even if short-term development is a reasonable focus, a lot of organisations, in particular, SMEs lack any formalisation around employees’ career pathways. Many employees are doing their day job, but getting little or no engagement from their line manager or leaders on what the opportunities for career progression may be, and just as importantly how they might go about realising their aspirations.

Leaders who dedicate even just a little time once every so often to ensure each team member has a clear PDP (personal development plan) and has the occasional engaging conversion about themselves and their future will be rewarded many times over with loyalty and employees going the extra mile.

How PDW Group can help

If you are concerned that your employees may be feeling disengaged and dissatisfied, then PDW Group can help. We can provide you with customised employee engagement survey so you can better understand what issues within your organisation may be leading to a reduction in engagement, so you can create a more engaging & inspiring environment for everyone. To find out more about this, contact us.

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