Why Employee Engagement Programs Fail

Posted On February 20, 2014
By Ed Murphy

Companies spend countless amounts of time, energy and money trying to get to the heart of the engagement question, but most fail to improve and some worsen employee engagement. What are they doing wrong?

Most companies look at engagement as a task involving surveys, long PowerPoint decks, and endless committees (which talk but never implement).

This is not employee engagement – this is a façade management creates to appear as if they care.

Employee engagement must be driven by company culture and atmosphere.  Management must talk the talk and walk the walk.

Companies with continuously high employee engagement do not have “programs”; employee engagement is part of their DNA and was created from the top down.

Any program you create that is not rooted in cultural change, backed and supported by management may provide short term increases, but over time, this causes more damage than good.

What most companies don’t understand is that employee engagement is not an HR issue nor is it an employee issue – it’s a management issue. 

We often find three types of management teams…

DO NOTHINGS: those that are not surprised when we present our root cause analysis, they know what causes their employees’ disengagement but have decided to ignore the issues.

BLIND EYES: those that are surprised to learn the causes of their employees disengagement, they have turned a blind eye to their employees, which in itself is a large part of the problem.

TRANSFOMERS: those that have moved beyond conducting a survey just to get a score and have embraced cultural change.

How should companies improve employee engagement?

Above all else, business leaders – not the HR department – need to genuinely care about their employees.

The path to higher employee engagement starts with a vision created and reinforced by management.

Once there is a commitment to change and management starts walking the walk, they must take action …

  1. Assign an owner and a seat at the management table, not with the HR department
  2. Create a strategy
  3. Empower the engagement owner to actually make change
  4. Communicate the strategy
  5. Conduct a survey
  6. Conduct action planning, assign owners and timelines for completion
  7. Communicate findings and planned next steps
  8. Implement change and have regular communication of accomplishments to plan

Strativity’s integrated IMCO™ Employee Engagement Program was designed to avoid the pitfalls of survey programs and to evolve performance to the next level.

Strativity’s integrated IMCO™ Programs assess employee engagement across the core 4 relationships employees have – Individual, Manager, Customer and Organization – and produces actionable insights.

The IMCO™ programs go beyond the questionnaire and integrate 4 components that, altogether, lead to positive, lasting change, exceptional employee performance and improved financial results:

  • IMCO™ Employee Engagement Study
  • Action Planning
  • Coaching & Execution guidance
  • Skills & Leadership programs

Ed Murphy is Research Director of Strativity Group. Ed has over 25 years of global experience, helping companies understand and communicate with their customers by providing actionable consumer and business insights.

Connect with him on linkedin


Read More:

Mobilize Your Employees to Deliver Better CX