Flevy Blog is an online business magazine covering Business Strategies, Business Theories, & Business Stories.

Do You Know the Root Cause to Poor Employee Engagement?

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Motivating Your Workforce (51-slide PowerPoint presentation). It's no secret that employees who feel they are valued and recognized for the work they do are more motivated, responsible, and productive. This power point presentation will help supervisors and managers deliver training that will result in a more dynamic, loyal, and energized workplace. It is [read more]

Also, if you are interested in becoming an expert on Human Resource Management (HRM), take a look at Flevy's Human Resource Management (HRM) Frameworks offering here. This is a curated collection of best practice frameworks based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. By learning and applying these concepts, you can you stay ahead of the curve. Full details here.

* * * *

Editor’s Note: The author, Dwight Mihalicz, is a subject expert matter on effective management and hosting a free webinar for Flevy’s audience on Empowerment 4.0.   The focus of Empowerment 4.0 is to help managers of managers understand the elements that need to be in place for effective teams.  Most management training focuses on the “soft skills,” whereas the teachings of Empowerment 4.0 are more fundamental and can help managers deal with root-cause issues of why they are not getting the team performance they desire and should be able to expect.  You can sign up for the free webinar here.

* * * *

I recently read an interview in Fast Company on the dismal state of employee engagement in the American workforce. Jim Harter, Ph.D., heads up Gallup’s research on employee engagement. Using 263 research studies across 192 organizations in 49 industries and 34 countries, Gallup recently conducted its eighth meta-analysis on the subject. The research overwhelmingly concluded that the vast majority of employees are disengaged in their jobs.

Employee Engagement

There are three ways to categorize these employees. The article I read provided an analogy of a group of people in a boat, with only a few people rowing, the vast majority passively watching the scenery, and a couple more individuals actively trying to sink it. So in other words:

  • Engaged employees are those who feel a genuine connection to their company and its goals. They are the employees who really care and are entirely committed to the success of their organization. Unfortunately, they make up only about 30% of the workforce.
  • Passively disengaged employees make up a little over half of the workforce. They are the employees who are indifferent to their organization—they just want to get their work done and go home.
  • Actively disengaged employees are those employees who are actively indifferent. They are dissatisfied with their organization to the point of intentionally harming it. They make up the remainder of the workforce.

The Facts

It is an indisputable fact that engagement has a huge impact on organizational performance. Jim Harter’s Gallup research, which studied nearly 1.4 million employees, demonstrates that engagement affects customer satisfaction, profitability, productivity, and quality. It also affects employee behaviour with regards to turnover, safety, theft, and absenteeism.

The research showed that companies in the top quartile of employee engagement had 22% higher profits than the bottom quartile. Those in the top 1% had four times the success rate of the bottom 1%. Engaged workforces also seemed to have recovered from the recession more quickly.

Measuring Engagement

Creating employee engagement is critical to the success of any organization, and measuring engagement is the first step. However, the problem with most employee engagement surveys is that they measure the symptoms of disengagement and not the root cause. For example, most surveys identify Communication and Collaboration as problem areas, so organizations hoping to create employee engagement try to improve these areas. They attempt to boost communication with newsletters, social events, and other such things. They try to overcome Collaboration issues with team building exercises. But engagement doesn’t improve because they are attacking the symptoms and not the root cause. It’s like taking an aspirin for a fever. You may feel better, but the underlying disease is not cured.

As Jim Harter says in Gallup’s business journal, “Measurement is one thing, what you measure is another. You can measure a lot of things that have nothing to do with performance and that don’t help a company implement a system that allows managers to create change.”

The Effective ManagersTM Survey

This is one of the reasons why we developed our Effective ManagersTM Survey. We wanted to discover the root cause of manager ineffectiveness, because ineffective managers cannot create an environment where employees will be engaged. Through our research we learned that effectiveness is related to accountability. Employees feel they’re not being communicated with when a proper accountability and authority framework doesn’t exist. When managers delegate effectively, assigning accountabilities and creating feedback loops, employees receive right-sized messaging at the right time.

All organizations should be concerned with employee engagement. In order to create employee engagement, you first need to measure it, but unfortunately this is where many organizations fail. If you want to heal the disease of disengagement, instead of just mitigating the symptoms, you have to measure the right things. If you’re looking for a solution that’s long lasting instead of fast acting, you must measure the right things.

26-slide PowerPoint presentation
Job Leveling is a disciplined approach to gauge the value of work for individual positions across the organization. It entails ascertaining the nature of work done by each position, authority levels, and the effect of each job on business results. Jobs that are configured inadequately bread [read more]

Want to Achieve Excellence in Human Resource Management (HRM)?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Human Resource Management (HRM). Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. Click here for full details.

The purpose of Human Resources (HR) is to ensure our organization achieves success through our people. Without the right people in place—at all levels of the organization—we will never be able to execute our Strategy effectively.

This begs the question: Does your organization view HR as a support function or a strategic one? Research shows leading organizations leverage HR as a strategic function, one that both supports and drives the organization's Strategy. In fact, having strong HRM capabilities is a source of Competitive Advantage.

This has never been more true than right now in the Digital Age, as organizations must compete for specialized talent to drive forward their Digital Transformation Strategies. Beyond just hiring and selection, HR also plays the critical role in retaining talent—by keeping people engaged, motivated, and happy.

Learn about our Human Resource Management (HRM) Best Practice Frameworks here.

Readers of This Article Are Interested in These Resources

20-slide PowerPoint presentation
High Employee Engagement ties directly to financial benefits for a company and companies with high Employee Engagement typically have distinctive and compelling Employee Value Propositions (EVP). We can define an EVP as what we offer our employees in exchange for their effort and commitment. This [read more]

21-slide PowerPoint presentation
59-page Word document

About Dwight Mihalicz

Dwight Mihalicz has over 40 years’ experience helping local, national, and international organizations achieve greater productivity, efficiency, and performance. He is also teaching a 7-week Flevy Executive Learning (FEL) program on effective management called Empowerment 4.0, as well as giving a free webinar by the same title. Sign up for the webinar here.

, , ,

Complimentary Business Training Guides

Many companies develop robust strategies, but struggle with operationalizing their strategies into implementable steps. This presentation from flevy introduces 12 powerful business frameworks spanning both Strategy Development and Strategy Execution. [Learn more]

  This 48-page whitepaper, authored by consultancy Envisioning, provides the frameworks, tools, and insights needed to manage serious Change—under the backdrop of the business lifecycle. These lifecycle stages are each marked by distinct attributes, challenges, and behaviors. [Learn more]

We've developed a very comprehensive collection of Strategy & Transformation PowerPoint templates for you to use in your own business presentations, spanning topics from Growth Strategy to Brand Development to Innovation to Customer Experience to Strategic Management. [Learn more]

  We have compiled a collection of 10 Lean Six Sigma templates (Excel) and Operational Excellence guides (PowerPoint) by a multitude of LSS experts. These tools cover topics including 8 Disciplines (8D), 5 Why's, 7 Wastes, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), and DMAIC. [Learn more]
Recent Articles by Corporate Function






The Flevy Business Blog (https://flevy.com/blog) is a leading source of information on business strategies, business theories, and business stories. Most of our articles are authored by management consultants and industry executives with over 20 years of experience.

Flevy (https://flevy.com) is the marketplace for business best practices, such as management frameworks, presentation templates, and financial models. Our best practice documents are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier consulting firms (like McKinsey, Bain, Accenture, BCG, and Deloitte) and used by Fortune 100 organizations. Learn more about Flevy here.

About Flevy
Management Topics
FlevyPro (Subscription Service)
FlevyPro Streams (Bundles)
Flevy Executive Learning (FEL)
KPI Library
Marcus (AI-Powered Consultant)
PowerPoint Services
Partner Program
LinkedIn Influencer Marketing
Flevy Tools (Free PowerPoint Plugin)
FAQ / Terms / Privacy / Blog
Contact Us: support@flevy.com


Strategy, Transformation, & Innovation
Digital Transformation
Operational Excellence and LSS
Organization, Change, & HR
Management Consulting

TOP 100
Strategy & Transformation
Digital Transformation
Operational Excellence
Organization & Change
Financial Models
Consulting Frameworks
PowerPoint Templates
Business Transformation
Change Management
Customer-centric Design (CCD)
Digital Transformation
Human Resource Management

Business Strategy Frameworks
Case Studies
Consulting Training Guides
COVID-19 Trend Data
Digital Transformation
Financial Advising Services (FAS)

Innovation Management
Organizational Culture (OC)
Organizational Design (OD)
Organizational Leadership (OL)
Performance Management

KPI Library
Lean Management
Lean Six Sigma Training Guides
Marcus Insights
Operational Excellence
Product Strategy

Process Improvement
Post-merger Integration (PMI)
Strategy Development
Supply Chain Management (SCM)
Value Creation

Small Business Owner
Startup Resources
Strategic Plan Template
Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning Process
Value Innovation Strategy

© 2012-2024 Copyright. Flevy LLC. All Rights Reserved.