Employee Engagement / 6 minute read

4 mistakes you're making when trying to engage your employees

Written by Maisie Tomlinson

20 January 2021
Senior leaders spend a lot of their time thinking that their employees are engaged, when in fact just 15% of employees worldwide feel engaged in their work. Today’s workforce consists of 3 different generations: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, and before too long Gen Z will be joining the mix. Engaging employees is no longer as simple as offering a bonus at the end of the year – employees want to be part of a community, they want to work for a company whose values align with their own, they want consistent feedback and development, and they want to be rewarded and recognised for their work.  

We have established 4 common mistakes organisations are making when trying to engage employees: 


1. Not listening 

Employers often think they know what engages their employees, a free massage and a day off on your birthday. However, if they listened to their employees, they would find out that gimmicky perks aren’t what engage them. Employees want development, a good work-life balance and manageable workloads, to name but a few. With the workforce diversifying constantly, the ‘one size fits all’ approach is no longer enough to engage employees. Ask your employees what would engage them, what would make their time at work more enjoyable, and how the organisation can help them do their job better. 


2. Not thinking about the bigger picture 

It’s important that employers are asking themselves why. Yes, I’m sure in the short term a prosecco tap would be very popular, but what does that provide employees in the long run? Being emotionally connected to the bigger purpose creates loyalty and motivation which in turn helps the employees feel more committed and engaged to the organisation. Deloitte’s core beliefs and culture survey found that focusing on purpose rather than profits, build business confidence and drives investment 


3. Not effectively measuring  

Measuring engagement can be quite a difficult task, but the first step to improving something is to measure it. By committing to measuring and improving employee engagement, an organisation demonstrates that they genuinely care about the wellbeing of their employees. There are 3 simple ways that organisations can measure employee engagement: 

  • Surveys  there are many types of surveys that companies can release to gauge the engagement of employees, such as pulse surveys, or quarterly surveys or even yearly surveys. The aim of a survey is to find out how employees are feeling at work, and what they would change. 
  • One-to-ones – it’s important to have regular contact with your employees. Implementing weekly informal chats will give employees an opportunity to express their concerns in a safe space.  
  • Exit interviews – the opinion of the staff that are choosing to leave is so important, they will give honest feedback of what engaged them at the organisation, and what held them back from being engaged.  

 4. Not being transparent  

According to research by Glassdoor, 96% of job seekers say it’s important to work for a company that embraces transparency. In an era of distrust, transparency is so important to employees, and while it’s not always easy for leaders to embrace, it’s the ultimate way to earn your employees trust and loyalty. However, transparency doesn’t mean disclosing company figures and sensitive information, it just means involving employees in decisions that affect them, thus nurturing a culture that encourages communication.  

It’s imperative that companies focus on engaging their employees. A study by Wyatt Watson found that companies that have highly engaged employees produce 26% higher revenue per employee. By avoiding these 4 employee engagement mistakes, organisations are one step closer to an engaged workforce.