Signs of employee disengagement

Realizing that a good employee is unhappy at work can come as a shock, especially when it seemed like everything was going well. Decreasing employee engagement, especially in previously motivated employees, is a serious problem for organizations.

12 professionals from Forbes Human Resources Council point out the telltale signs of employee disengagement that could cost a business its best workers:

  • Withdrawal
  • Poor communication
  • Breaks from routine
  • Silence
  • An apathetic approach
  • Absenteeism
  • Complacency
  • A decline in work quality; missed deadlines
  • Exhaustion, cynicism, inefficiency
  • Lack of participation
  • Naysaying
  • Rudeness

If you can spot the signs that an employee is disengaged, you can take some action to change the situation.

One of the most common mistakes managers make is this: You actually see the signs, but you ignore them for a number of reasons.

You are busy; you don’t care about small changes or small vulnerabilities.

You have a problem of not caring; you assume that this job is the only option for the employees.

You have a problem of not seeing; you ignore the elephant in the middle of the room.

However, a change in an engaged employee may indicate bigger problems than you think.

Ask yourself; are you busy, don’t care or don’t see it at all?

These are all your problems, not your employees’ problems.

How about focusing on these problems before you become a candidate to solve employee problems?

Reasons why business owners fear the remote working

Now when the post-pandemic world is finally on the horizon, companies are slowly calling their employees back to the office. Many employers worry that their workers may quit if not allowed to continue working from home.

Numerous studies done during the pandemic showed that the fears of productivity loss weren’t realized. Various studies showed that the productivity rates are higher now than they were in the traditional working setting.

While we know that the majority of employees want to work in a hybrid way — splitting their time between working remotely and in-person — there’s still heightened fear and stress about working in the hybrid work environment.

What are some of the most common fears business owners have regarding remote work?

  • Retention
  • Loss of Control
  • Loss of Culture
  • Information Security
  • Interruption of one-to-one communication
  • Complicated Recruitment Process
  • The possibility that employees working remotely might not suit everyone’s needs or personality type
  • Thinking that without an office, clients won’t take the company seriously.

When their needs are considered, and the employer trusts them, employees are more likely to stay with their employer and have higher levels of engagement. Organizations of the future will look significantly different from what we are used to, and only those ready to adapt will survive and thrive in this fast-changing environment.

Here are our suggestions:

  • Let go of your fears, it’s the new normal
  • Adapt and be flexible
  • Accelerate tech transformation
  • Trust your employees and get them to trust you
  • Take the issue of employee engagement seriously

What’s the problem with looking busy?

Employee productivity largely improved while working remotely. Many employees don’t want to go back to working in the office full time and this has become a valuable employee perk when trying to attract new talent. When you include remote workers, your job pool grows exponentially.

But… Life is not as easy as it seems for knowledge workers.

Qatalog partnered with GitLab to understand knowledge workers’ experience of asynchronous work, the barriers to adoption, and its growing importance in the modern workplace. The findings of the report Killing Time at Work mean a lot.

Check out the stats

  • 54% of knowledge workers feel pressure to show they are online at certain times of the day – and workers spend an additional 67 minutes online every day, to show their colleagues and managers they are still present and ‘working’.
  • The average knowledge worker now receives notifications from six applications, and 73% of workers reply to these notifications outside of their working hours – making it hard to switch off.
  • 81% of knowledge workers believe they are more productive and create higher quality output when they have more flexibility over when they work, and 65% of those regularly working asynchronously said it had a positive impact on their wellbeing.
  • 66% of knowledge workers said they would resign from a job if their flexibility to choose their hours was limited, and 43% would consider a lower paid role if it gave them greater flexibility over when they work.

From the bosses’ perspective, the busy worker is often a more reassuring sight. The old-fashioned habits of executives are putting invisible pressure on remote employees. Judging by the comments from around the world, employees are increasingly trying to “look busy”. The busy ones are already too busy. However, employees who spend the working day more relaxed for different reasons feel threatened. This threat felt by the employees makes them leave this uncomfortable environment as soon as possible.

Of course, not all managers are proponents of busy work. Many believe in “outcome-based” tasks rather than time-based tasks.

We suggest you read the following article published on BBC Work Life. The article has the following remark:

“The perception is not just that a busy worker is engaged and making an effort, but even that their industriousness gives them a higher moral value than their less busy colleagues. This sets up a dynamic in which two office workers completing identical tasks can be judged on their busyness, rather than their results. Who appears to be more engaged: the busy worker who skips lunch to get things finished, or the efficient worker who finishes early and uses the time saved to buy groceries online?”

An Engaging Leadership Style May Boost Employee Engagement

When employee engagement scores are low, eyes turn to tools, processes, and even workplace culture. However, most studies show that the most important driver of low commitment is leadership.

Greta Mazzetti of the University of Bologna, Italy, and Wilmar Schaufeli of the University of Utrecht, Netherlands, introduced a new leadership style to the literature with an article they presented in the open access journal PLOS ONE on June 29, 2022: Katılımcı Liderlik (Engaging leadership)

The research findings were published as follows:

“An employee who is engaged typically has a positive state of mind relating to their work and shows vigor, dedication, and absorption in their work. Previous research suggests that more engaged employees tend to have greater well-being and better job performance.

Previous research also suggests that a certain style of leadership known as engaging leadership — involving leaders who fulfill employees’ need for autonomy, feeling competent, and feeling cared for — may boost employee engagement. However, most studies of workplace leadership styles have focused on a single point in time, without analyzing potential effects over time.

To provide new insights, Mazzetti and Schaufeli explored the impact of an engaged leadership style on work engagement and team effectiveness of 1,048 employees across 90 teams within a Dutch workplace. Participants each took two surveys, one year apart, which included questions about their supervisors’ level of engaging leadership, their own work engagement, and other personal and team characteristics.

Statistical analysis of the responses suggests that supervisors perceived as engaged leaders in the initial survey did indeed enhance employee engagement as captured in the second survey. This impact appeared to occur via a boost in employees’ personal psychological resources of optimism, resiliency, self-efficacy, and flexibility — these results are in line with evidence from previous studies.

Similarly, engaged leaders appeared to enhance team effectiveness by boosting team resources, which consisted of performance feedback, trust in management, communication, and participation in decision-making. Team resources also appeared to affect individual employee engagement.

These findings support the use of engaging leadership to boost employee engagement and team effectiveness in the workplace. Future research could compare the effects of engaging leadership versus other leadership styles on employees and teams over time.

The authors add: “A leader who inspires, strengthens and connects team members fosters a shared perception of available resources (in terms of performance feedback, trust in management, communication, and participation in decision-making), and a greater psychological capital (i.e., self-efficacy, optimism, resilience, and flexibility)”

How to create autonomy in the workplace?

It is clear: Employees who are free to make their own choices about how they go about their responsibilities are happier, more committed, more productive and more loyal than those whose every action is prescribed.

Autonomy in the workplace isn’t just about managing our actions – it’s about choice; to be able to choose and actually create our options.

In the workplace, autonomy essentially means having a job where you can make at least some of the decisions on your own.

Although many businesses claim to support employee autonomy, this may be a blind spot for your organization if it’s not a significant part of your culture.

Even if increasing employee autonomy is already high on your priority list, how do you actually go about it? Clearly, autonomy is something that is felt individually, so employees must develop it themselves to a degree. But what can managers do to practically encourage and support that self-awareness?

Follow these best practices to boost and encourage employee autonomy.

  • Build trust, but trust first!
  • Mistakes will always happen, calm down!
  • Hire autonomous people
  • Talk about autonomy needs with each employee
  • Promote colleagues as a gut-check resource
  • Communicate effectively
  • Have limits but also have the right to choose
  • Provide tools to reach goals
  • Provide support and advice where needed

How does autonomy improve employee engagement?

Studies have shown that work environments that grant more autonomy to their employees have both higher levels of job satisfaction, as well as better productivity rates. And it makes sense: when you’re given a greater level of personal responsibility for the outcome of your work, you’re incentivised to do it better and therefore more engaged with the work you’re doing. It encourages a genuine feeling of personal investment in your work, and in the company or organisation as a whole. Moreover, increased employee autonomy can have huge benefits for your entire team and organisation – higher rates of motivation and job satisfaction have been proven to decrease levels of employee turnover. (Source: Chron)

I don’t wanna go back!

Employees do not want to go back to the office environment. In other words, they want the right to choose in this matter. Flexibility is a vital issue for employees. But managers do not agree.

About 50% of leaders say their company already requires or is planning to require employees to return to in-person work full-time in the next year, according to new research from Microsoft, which surveyed 31,102 workers around the world between January and February.

This number stands in sharp contrast, however, to what employees really want: flexibility. In the same report, 52% of workers said that they are thinking of switching to a full-time remote or hybrid job in 2022.

According to experts, the companies who push for a full return-to-office could see serious ramifications if they don’t offer employees the kind of flexibility and environment they’re asking for.

A statistic on this issue was also created at the end of 2021. Future Forum’s survey found that 42% of executives are working from the office 3-4 days a week compared to 30% of non-executives. What’s more, 44% of executives working remotely said that they would prefer to work from the office every day, while just 17% of employees said the same.

Managers are struggling to balance these competing desires: More than half of managers believe leadership is out of touch with employees, but 74% say they don’t have the influence or resources to enact change for their employees, according to Microsoft’s report.

An article published on HBR has the following recommendations:

First, identify which employees fall into each of the categories. You can start by using your eyes, ears, and intuition. Some people will voice their disfavor, others their support. Some might say they just aren’t sure, or won’t say anything at all.

Second, talk to active and passive resistors to identify the nature of their objections. No problem solving can take place without a solid understanding of core interests. Remember that resistance is often rooted in feelings of “not being heard.” So, listen.

Third, expose those who fall into the neutral category to the passive and active support categories. Neutral means having no opinions about or mixed views on the change.

Fourth, emphasize the benefits of the change to mobilize passive supporters. Focus on the difference between “zero sum,” where one party wins and the other loses, and “positive sum,” where everyone benefits. Finally, give active supporters a platform so they can help you reinforce the benefits of and legitimize the change.

7 surprising statistics on Employee retention

First, let’s remember the definition of employee retention once again. In the simplest terms Employee retention is the ability for a company to retain, or keep employees working at a job. It’s closely linked to employee experience since a positive experience is associated with higher Intent to Stay. Employee retention strategies are the actions organizations take to keep employees happy, engaged, and productive at work.

As a general rule, employee retention rates of 90 percent or higher are considered good and a company should aim for a turnover rate of 10% or less.

So what is the difference between retention rate and turnover rate? Retention rate is the percentage of a company’s employees that remain with them for a set period of time. Turnover rate is measuring the percentage of employees that leave in a given period. 

Check out the stats!

  1. 73% of respondents are having trouble attracting employees — nearly 3 times the number (26%) reported in the previous year. Nearly the same number of employers (70%) expect the problem to remain in 2022. (2021 Talent Attraction and Retention Survey- Willis Towers Watson)
  2. 61% of respondents are having difficulty retaining employees and believe the problem will linger into 2022 — compared to only 15% in the previous year. (2021 Talent Attraction and Retention Survey- Willis Towers Watson)
  3. According to a study, 87% of human resources leaders have placed their employee retention attempts as a #1 priority for the next few years. The same study noted as a bottom line that 20% of them find it difficult to maintain focus on this priority as there are other factors that take away their attention and budgets. (Kronos)
  4. Gallup research found employees who are “engaged and thriving” are 59% less likely to look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months. Having a sense of purpose — the why behind the what — can help your employees feel like they’re doing something meaningful beyond just a job.
  5. On average, a higher retention rate can maximize a company’s profits up to four times. (Source)
  6. Strong management transparency leads to 30% better employee retention. (TinyPulse)
  7. Employee retention stats confirm that 27% of millennials resign because their goals are not in alignment with their employer’s, while 13% point to career development or lack of such as a key factor for switching employers. (

Why employee experience initiatives fail?

Employee experience is a worker’s perceptions about his or her journey through all the touchpoints at a particular company, starting with job candidacy through to the exit from the company. The company’s physical workspace, culture and technology are all important components of the employee experience, which is often abbreviated as EX.

Employee perceptions and experiences will affect every other aspect of a company’s processes. Happy employees who perceive their experience as good are more engaged and complete tasks more effectively and efficiently.

The aim of EX is to make employees excited, proud, happy and confident about their work and the company they work for. Organisations capable of doing this create a positive EX, while companies that fall short may deliver a negative or unexciting one. It’s an outcome largely influenced by a company’s willingness and ability to meet and exceed employee needs, expectations and standards.

Employee experience is internal, not just physical

“Employee experience” is a dangerously broad term, one easily misconstrued as meaning expensive perks and flashy offices. While cold brew on-tap and weekly happy hours are nice additions to the workplace, they do not necessarily equal a healthy, positive employee experience. In fact, without a strong foundation, these perks can erode positivity and create a culture of entitlement.

Employee experience is internal, not just Digital

We are aware that we are repeating. Maybe we’ll repeat it one more time. Digital Employee Experience; otherwise known as DEX. Just like it sounds, DEX aims to convey the impact of the digital workplace on its employees. The digital employee experience encompasses how employees work, what tools and technology they use, and the culture they exist within. We all agree that it is very necessary. But we insist that technological tools are a supporter of the intangible experience that the company offers.

Employee experience is a reflection of culture

The answer to the question of what we should do to create a great employee experience is clear: You should be on your way to becoming a great company. Employee experience is a long-term journey. It is never a project. It starts with the advertisement you prepare to attract candidates and continues until the Alumni meetings. It is the first day experience. It is the attitude you show in the exit interview. It goes far beyond ergonomic desks and smart software.

How experts define employee engagement?

Employee engagement is one thing, but it can have different definitions.

How about shuffling the archive?

“Employee engagement is the harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances.” Described by William Kahn in 1990, it is perhaps the oldest definition recorded.

Wikipedia used a definition like this: Employee engagement is a property of the relationship between an organisation and its employees. An “engaged employee” is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organisation’s reputation and interests. (Wikipedia)

Simon Sinek, the author of “Start ith Why,” describes employee engagement in the simplest of terms: “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

Quantum Workplace defines employee engagement as “the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work”.

According to Gallup, engaged employees are “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace”.

According to Willis Towers Watson, employee engagement is “employees’ willingness and ability to contribute to company success”.

Aon Hewitt defines employee engagement as “the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organization.”

Kevin Kruse from says the definition of employee engagement is; Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals. 

What is employee engagement according to Engage & Grow?

All definitions of employee engagement are parallel to each other, and we continue our work by consolidating the opinions of experts. The programs we implement around the world show that creating employee engagement is the ultimate goal of a great employee experience. In order to achieve this goal, employees need to be activated. This is the mission of Engage & Grow all over the world.

Improve Engagement with Effective Leadership Communication

Effective communication is a significant factor in engagement. Taking time to ensure leadership has an open line of communication with your employees can improve morale, engagement, and help drive organizational change.

Leadership communication is the backbone of team success. Without it, team goals and valuable information that helps reach them would be lost. Taking the extra time to work on your leadership communication skills will improve the relationship you have with your team, which should be your number one priority as a leader.

A great leader not only does the right things, but also says the right things and demonstrates in their behavior what they wish to see reflected in their employees.


Be Present

Spend some time face-to-face with employees and other members of the company, visit offices, call centers, visit stores and other locations. It shows people that you’re approachable and that you care about them. The more visible you are, the better you’ll be able to lead.

Be transparent

Transparent leaders strive to practice what they preach, set crystal-clear expectations, and communicate effectively with every member of their team. When you lead with transparency, you set a standard for the rest of the company to live by. The importance of transparency in leadership becomes more apparent as it fosters a workplace culture of open communication and accountable behavior for both employees and leaders.

Be authentic

Authenticity is the key to being an engaging leader. Leadership communication is about providing your team with the information they need to do their job and contribute to the company’s success. This can still be done with a personal touch. Don’t get stuck communicating like a robot programmed to strictly speak in industry terms and corporate lingo. Let your character and personal values show through the message you construct and the way you present it.

Be a good listener

A new study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology finds that listening carefully and attentively increases the level of humility in any conversation, resulting in a positive feedback loop of increased humility and better listening.

Be the energy you want to see

The researchers found that leaders with positive relational energy consistently produce more engaged workforces, lower employee turnover and increased feelings of employee wellbeing. They also found that there was a higher concentration of such leaders at high performing companies as opposed to average-performing companies. Innovation, teamwork, financial performance and team cohesion all improved when led by positive energizers.

Be humble

Humble people have a host of qualities that actually make them better, more effective leaders — like a willingness to admit (and embrace!) their weaknesses and ask for help when they need it.

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