5 Reasons why Employee Engagement fails

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Engagement is not just a buzzword in corporate world alone, it’s everywhere; engage your customers in the business world, readers and viewers in the media world.

Engaging a community has become far more obvious with the emergence of social media tools like Facebook and twitter and with people effectively utilizing it. People are connected with a click of a button however distant they might be.  But why are we not able to connect or engage our own employees who we interact with everyday?

Employees or human capital is an important component of any organization’s sustainability and engaging them is often difficult. Most of the time this involves costs but we do not see the necessary impact with the money spent. Yes, I am talking about the employee engagement programs!!

Well, one of my readers who works in HR was sharing her experience in designing an employee engagement program with limited budget and after implementing she found it to be a miserable failure. In discussing with her we found out about possible reasons.

Employees feel forced to engage: Sometimes employees will not get their ass off their chair unless someone from HR shows up. Are they waiting to see their manager make the first move?  Obviously! Few employees participated because they found that there is a lack of senior management’s involvement. So naturally they did not feel secure enough taking time out from their work and even if they participated they possibly would not enjoy it.

“That’s what HR is here for” attitude: If the management feels that engaging employee is only HR’s responsibility alone then the whole effort would be of no use.  All leaders from the top management to the front line managers should play a role in engaging the employees. Most of the time employees quit not the company but their managers. In fact front line managers should be accountable to the senior management for the way they treat their team members.

Balloons and ribbons won’t work: Often we heard of and practiced fun and games at work programs and activities. But this might not seem to be interesting for certain people say for e.g. for the baby boomers. Not all employees are same and the same thing does not motivate all of the employees in an organization. There you might have to redesign your tactics and get them involved. Create an opportunity to connect with what is important to people, understand what are the values that hold them close to your organization and encourage it a way that will keep them engaged.

No Exceptions: Employee engagement efforts are not only for sales and marketing team because they generate revenue. This can discourage employees from other departmenst that don’t directly contribute to the revenue and thus can make them disengaged. Engagement is needed in all areas  of your organization.

Frequency of the Engagement programs:  There can be a flurry of engagement activities planned for few months and then followed by a big silence. So employees are not aware about what’s happening and those who look forward to such activities can eventually get uninterested.

Some of the reasons why Employee engagement fails !

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6 Responses to 5 Reasons why Employee Engagement fails

  1. I’d like to offer two other reasons employee engagement initiatives fail

    1. Engagement is not an event so no one initiative is going to fix it. There must be genuine commitment across the organisation to operate in a way that “engages” employees – that is inspires them to give that something extra. To really achieve this often requires cultural change which can be aided by consistent and effective use of tools such as performance management, consultative processes (aka hard work over a long period)…., but definitely not through one off events such as a staff function.

    2. Most of the employee engagement initiatives I hear of are driven by HR or the organisation – such as incentive schemes. These appeal to the extrinsic motivators. To get to the heart of engagement, it is more effective to consider the intrinsic motivators – what compels someone to go the extra mile without even counting it. Having engagement driven by HR also means that the employee is not required to take ownership of their own level of engagement. Just like career planning/management – engagement is a dual responsibility.

  2. Hey Erica,

    Thank you for adding on to the topic. You have really highlighted one of the wrong perception that people normally have as they look at Employee Engagement as simply an event or a one time activity rather than a consistent ongoing activity. Of course engagement should happen from the base level where the work really gets done. There the role of immediate managers is to help them explore their full potential in what they do and to help them attain career advancement within the company itself.

  3. @bhv says:

    5 Reasons why Employee Engagement fails http://t.co/8u4xPex9 #yam

  4. RT @TheHrbuddy: If you missed: Why employees feel forced to engage http://t.co/CBsb7x2i #EmployeeEngagement #HR #HRblogs #HR247 #jobsearch

  5. @OPOuk says:

    5 reasons why #employeeengagement fails – #hr – http://t.co/s2uF3aBlvt

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