Employee Motivation

10 reasons why employees get disengaged (and how to prevent it)

3 min read

When new hires hit the scene, they tend to be hopeful and optimistic. Better pay, career development, benefits – the future looks bright and shiny.

However, day after day, small things stack up and build upon one another. Eventually that platform grows to be so high that the employee chooses to jump ship either mentally (they are disengaged) or physically (they quit).

Employee disengagement does not happen overnight; it is a process.

Here’s a look at how employee disengagement happens:

  1. Poor management

    Lack of constructive feedback, recognition and one-on-one time are key traits of poor management.

  2. Lack of career growth

    Employees feel “stuck” in their jobs. They are unable to voice where they would like to go within the company, and they are not given the opportunity to improve their skills (i.e. through mentorship, training, employee development programs, etc.).

  3. Poor communication Employee disengagement factors: Why people leave

    Not only are employees often completely unaware of how well they are performing, but they are unsure of their actual job role. Leaders that build cultures of innovation excel at communicating effectively to all their employees.

  4. Pay

    This basic point in the employee engagement hierarchy must be met in order for an employee to continue moving up the hierarchy and become more engaged.

  5. Lack of recognition

    Employees who feel valued will continue to work hard to impress leadership. Those who are not recognized as a contributor will eventually stop trying. Here’s a great post on how to drive innovation and engagement through incentives.

  6. Poor leadership

    The employees of the twenty-first century want transparency. This includes having contact with senior leadership, being kept in the loop about future development and goals, and so on.

  7. Lack of training

    Training allows employees to improve their skills or earn new ones that will help them move up within the organization. No training shows a lack of trust and value in the individual.

  8. Excessive workload

    Poor task delegation leaves some employees overburdened, overworked, and unsatisfied. This is particularly true if their hard efforts go unrecognized.

  9. Lack of tools and resources

    Every employee wants to do his or her job right. Not having the tools or the resources to successfully complete the job reduces an employee’s job satisfaction and can leave them feeling powerless.

  10. Lack of collaboration

    Teamwork and camaraderie is a huge part of a great company culture today. Having a company where employees are more focused on the “I” in the work rather than the “we” makes employees feel alienated and alone.

How to prevent employee disengagement

A recent Gallup poll revealed that 52% of American employees were disengaged, with another 18% actively disengaged. That 18% alone costs the United States between $450 billion to $550 billion each and every year due to lack of productivity. In other words: you can’t afford a disengaged team.

So how to you prevent it from happening?

First, a stat: 70% of why an employee comes to work each day is because of their managers. 🙌

As managers, you are responsible for employee well-being. You are there to guide, to encourage and to inspire. And how can you do that? Communication. Connecting. Continuous feedback that goes in BOTH direction. Here are three ways to make communication a core part of your culture:

Have regular one-on-one meetings

The best place to start is regular one-on-one meetings. It’s the ideal forum to have in-depth conversations with your employees about what they’re looking to achieve, and what’s standing in their way. (Don’t believe us? Here’s a look at why all amazing managers do one-on-ones).

Lead (effective) team meetings

Nothing kills morale faster than poorly-run, inefficient meetings where nothing gets done 😩. But done right, team meetings send everyone away feeling happy, motivated and – most importantly – engaged. (Check out our guide to running effective meetings for tips!)

Listen to their ideas 

Want to know what they’re thinking? Ask them! Idea management software is an excellent way of promoting and encouraging dialogue between employees, management and leadership. Use it to launch AMAs, lead product retrospectives, gather employee feedback and more – just be sure to respond to their questions and ideas in a timely manner, to make it clear that you’re listening.

Engage your teams with the Soapbox app