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10 Signs That Your Company Is Failing To Engage With Its People

Nobody likes to have to admit when they are failing at anything but given the pressures and continuous changes taking place in our new day and age, it is a lot easier to “miss the mark” than you would think - albeit completely unintentional.


Personally, I find that with so much of everything being offered to us on a daily basis, it is exhausting trying to sift through what might or might not be relevant to my needs. To say I feel engaged all the time would be a lie and as i'm sure you are aware - this applies to companies and their people as well. Have you had moments where you feel the same? It wouldn’t be a surprise if a lot of you answered “Yes” to that.


So let’s get straight to it. What is it to feel engaged? (and not in the sparkly, diamond ring kind of way) and what are the signs that you as a company are failing to engage with your people?


An engaged employee will adopt the values, purpose and vision of the organization. As a result they become innovative problem solvers, contributors who show intention and passion and excellent colleagues to work with.


By virtue of the first description, it would be fair to say that a disengaged employee would display the opposite attitudes and behaviors, right?


According to Gallup employee engagement isn’t binary. There are actually three classifications; engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged.


Employees who are engaged should be easy to spot - the same can be said for the actively disengaged - these people tend to make their feelings known. They rub "lies" with the silent majority who are not engaged. Statistics show that these individuals make up over 50% of the American workforce, and are proficient at blending in with the rest of the herd.

Absenteeism, low energy & lack of enthusiasm can be some of the obvious signs but let's face it -few disengaged employees start out like this. This begs the question: What are the early signs of employee disengagement?


10 Signs That Your Company Is Failing To Engage With Its People - Bessern Blog

1. Lack of Initiative Around Employee Performance

Poor work product & performance are a reliable means of detecting disengagement. An employee may feel disconnected from the organization but still perform because of their personal work ethic. In order to manage performance more effectively, look how motivated the person is in a different context.

2. Silence in the Workplace / Poor communication

One of the most prominent signs of disengagement is silence and poor communication. Be it during team calls, missed meetings and emails, If an employee seems distant please take immediate steps to connect with them one-on-one.

3. Unhealthy Activities

Ok - so we all have at least one unhealthy activity in our lives. When I’m disengaged it usually leads to an instantly gratifying action like smashing a bag of Doritos - just because I'm feeling bored. Take note of how often an employee goes to the break room for a coffee or a snack or a cigarette? Understanding that the person may just be hungry, tired, or addicted to nicotine is important but sometimes people can over-indulge in unhealthy behaviors to fill a void in their personal or professional lives.

4. No Yearning for Learning (lack of motivation)

Employees who are curious is a great sign that employees care about the bigger picture (the company purpose or culture). They have a high level of work motivation and want to learn and grow in their role. When you encourage learning and growth as a company value and employees don’t share your enthusiasm, it’s time to take stock of their employee engagement status.

5. Breaks From Routine

You can spot an engaged employee' routines and eventually learn to rely on them. When you see a change from this routine, you need to take a closer look at what’s going on behind the scenes. When a person you rely on begins to change their behavior, it's time to look into it, as this is a sign of disengagement.

6. Complacency

There are several reasons for feeling complacent. Honest discussions initiated by a good leader can help discover the root cause and come up with a realistic solution.

7. Naysaying

If you are faced with an employee who continually denies, refuses, opposes, or is skeptical & cynical about everything related to driving the business forward - it’s safe to say that you have a naysayer on your hands. A proactive leader would help discover the root cause and work to correct the course.

8. Rudeness

We all have “those” days where our patience and resilience is pushed to the limit. This however, is no reason but to become curt with other coworkers or clients. Reasons for rudeness are plenty and could be from boredom or that the employee is not feeling heard. This article by Mindtools can be of use if you are experiencing disrespectful behaviors from an employee.

9. Lack of Participation

Disengagement can reveal itself as disinterest in participating. Leaders can respond by making sure that employees have a reason to, and (more importantly) know how to engage.

10. Decline in Quality Of Work and Missing Deadlines

If these become persistent it is advisable to approach the employee as soon as possible to determine what the causes are. Management should work with him or her to determine what is necessary for re-engagement.


The good news is that all of these things can be resolved, you just need to be intentional about the change you want to achieve. Be the type of leader you would want to be led by and respect that changes don’t happen overnight. They require time, effort, patience, Intention and PRACTICE. Start small but whatever you do - just start. Be the change you want to see!

Fernanda Martinez

Productivity & Wellbeing Director

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