3 ways to increase employee engagement

How Do I Increase Employee Engagement?

In 3 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement, organizational leaders will learn:

✅ About disengaged employees

✅ What causes them to become so

✅ How to make progress toward a solution

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Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Levels Of Engagement Determine If Employees Help Or Hurt The Company.

You know what it feels like to be in a work environment where employees are engaged. They're excited about work, inspired by purpose, inquisitive, highly participative, and they contribute great ideas. All vital ingredients to organizational culture, productivity, and influencing the top and bottom line.

Positive Business Outcomes

Research by Choudhury & Mohanty (2019) as cited in Zeidan & Itani (2020) presents the following benefits of employee engagement:

✅ Reduced turnover

✅ Increased productivity

✅ Improved job performance

✅ And, other desired outcomes

In instances where disengagement prevails, progress won't be as achievable. Work stalls, quality diminishes, the employee and customer experiences falter, and revenues and profit are damaged.

The Disengaged Employee.

Not every employee feels intensely connected to the mission of the organization. That disconnect can lead to loss of motivation, diminished enthusiasm, and a sense of existence, within the organization, without purpose. These can stem from poor management, lack of career pathing advancement opportunities, or toxic work atmosphere.

No matter the cause, disengaged employees are not doing exceptional work. They're not adding to the culture, and they aren't wowing your customers.

Group of Disengaged Employees

Research On Disengagement And Its Impact.

Alonso & Wang (2014) found, in survey, the following ranked results of disengagement:

❌ Dysfunctional work relationships (29%)

❌ Lower productivity (25%)

❌ Unwillingness to go beyond job description (17%)

❌ Turnover (8%)

❌ Absences (7%)

Their continued research revealed that disengaged employees don't exit companies, en masse, as often as believed; instead, disengaged employees remain, inflicting continued damage on organizations and their people.

The Result.

Average work, average effort, employee stick around, unbothered, while collecting a paycheck, and sales and revenue suffer. There's no grow for your company, when there's no go for your employees.

Employee Turnover And Its Costs.

While disengaged employees may not leave all at once, their on-the-clock time may be dedicated to actively searching for opportunities elsewhere. When they are attentive to their responsibilities, they're doing average work or worse.

As they leave, costs of recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding increase. Though, the expense doesn't end there. When employees leave, their organizational knowledge follows. Remember, disengaged doesn't mean without talent or expertise. As these exits occur, and workloads are placed upon remaining employees, overwhelm and overwork increases, while team morale diminishes.

Here Are 3 Ways To Increase Employee Engagement.

1️⃣ Address Root Causes And Foster Engagement.

Parting ways with disengaged employees and replacing them is a band-aid. You'll find some employees who thrive for a time, but as high-performers recognize poor culture, they'll exit. Leaders can dismount the hamster wheel of disengagement by discovering the root causes, and adapting the work environment and culture accordingly.

It's not a single light switch that rights the ship. A comprehensive approach is required, and your middle managers are key to this initiative, in creating a positive working atmosphere.

Key areas of focus for middle managers:

✅ Communicating clearly

✅ Providing room for employee autonomy

✅ Recognizing and rewarding employee contributions

✅ Taking responsibility for employee development and career pathing

Attend to these areas consistently, and employees will look forward to Monday mornings, and every other day of the week, and will be more engaged and motivated as a result.

Light Switch

2️⃣ Invest In Employee Development.

Most employees enjoy learning. Some take it upon themselves to ensure their continuous development. Rather than leave it to chance, there's benefit in organizing and offering professional development for employees. Whether by training, coaching, mentoring, job rotation, or other method, providing well-structured offerings with consistency can upskill employees, encourage them to take on new challenges, and foster a learning culture.

🧑🏽‍🏫 Research Support.

1️⃣ Chen et al. (2016) as cited in Houssein et al. (2020) suggest job satisfaction as being positively influenced by career growth, and employees' intent to leave an organization as decreasing when the same is present.

2️⃣ Reynolds (2019) references "interesting, but balanced work, assignment flexibility, meaning and purpose, development opportunities, and enjoyment" as being important to Air Force personnel, as based on survey results (pg. 8).

3️⃣ Where employees are provided benefits and services that yield career growth opportunities, their organizational commitment is enhanced (Houssein et al., 2020).

3️⃣ Provide For Comprehensive Well-Being.


Attention to well-being is the 3rd element of our ways to increase employee engagement. We might believe that organizations care for their employees in providing comprehensive benefits and encouraging an environment of support, yet one might find that what's communicated during the recruiting process doesn't match with the experience in role. As an example, is "unlimited PTO" something that sounds nice in marketing to candidates, yet the on-the-job culture is one that discourages its use?

Employee well-being goes beyond this one benefit area, and includes items like health insurance, employee learning budgets, and flexible working arrangements, whether in-office, remote, or hybrid. Given the stressors of the pandemic, where overwork and burnout have resulted, it's also key to consider employees' mental health, and to provide support in this area, lending to appreciation, commitment, and employees who are best able to show up and perform to the best of their abilities.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read).

Employee disengagement harms organizations. Disengaged employees aren't doing exceptional work. They're not contributing positively to the culture. And, they're not wowing customers. Terminating these employees, in the hopes of replacing them with engaged ones, isn't a sustainable solution. You'll still need to seek ways to increase employee engagement and address the root causes to change the existing culture.

Do this, and you'll attract, grow, and keep engaged and exceptional employees, who will do more productive and profitable work in an environment that everyone can be proud of.

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In health,

David Bohmiller

David Bohmiller, MBA, MS (he/him/his)
Founder, CEO and Consulting Executive
Inevitabl LLC


Alonso, A., & Wang, M. (2014). Oh Canada!--A Different Take on Employee Engagement. TIP: The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 51(3), 165–168.

Houssein, A. A., Singh, J. S. K., & Arumugam, T. (2020, July 1). Retention of Employees through Career Development, Employee Engagement and Work-life Balance: An Empirical Study among Employees in the Financial Sector in Djibouti, East Africa. Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal, 12(3).

Reynolds, G. M. (2019). What Do People Want from Work? The Simple Question that Can Transform Unit Engagement and Retention. Air & Space Power Journal, 33(1), 4–18.

Zeidan, S., & Itani, N. (2020). Cultivating Employee Engagement in Organizations: Development of a Conceptual Framework. Central European Management Journal, 28(1), 99–118. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.7206/cemj.2658-0845.18

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