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Overcoming the 5 Deadly Employee Engagement Deficits

Employee engagement is one of the key challenges facing management, especially in these fast changing and uncertain times. Throw in some pandemic disruption due to Covid-19 and the task becomes even harder.

However, both evidence and experience tells us that before going into detailed policies and actions an organization can take to enhance engagement, attention needs to be focused on rectifying any deficiencies that may exist in 5 key areas. I call these the 5 deadly engagement deficits:

1. Lack of trust - the bedrock for a well functioning workplace is trust, built over time through consistent and fair managerial behaviours.

2. Lack of organisational justice - organisational justice has many dimensions but a simple dichotomy is that between procedural and substantive policies and procedures. Are policies themselves fairly designed and are they implemented fairly?

3. Lack of leadership - there are managerial traits that are an absolute must irrespective of leadership or managerial style. Walking the talk and displaying empathy are both key. Absent these, the deficit in engagement will only grow.

4. Lack of organisational support - there is so much we can expect from employees themselves. Organisations from their part, need to provide the required support and resources.

5. Lack of job/talent match - getting a people’s person to do ‘number crunching’ or someone who prefers 'helicopter view" types of tasks to do highly detailed work can lead to considerable misery and divergent expectations. Disengagement will almost certainly follow. Job design is critical at all stages of the employee experience. From recruitment through to onboarding, career planning and performance evaluations.

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