Team leaders and HR executives rightly place a lot of focus on employee engagement—but in this post, we’re going to explore that topic from a different perspective.

Today, I want to write briefly about employee disengagement. By understanding what causes employees to disengage from their work, you can better understand how to keep them on board and fully engaged.

Here are just a few of the most common drivers of employee disengagement.

The Primary Causes of Employee Disengagement

Based on some survey data that I’ve gathered, the most common drivers of employee disengagement are as follows:

  1. Employees feel as though the organization does not respect them.
  2. There’s a lack of respect for the senior leadership—whether due to issues of competence, personal integrity, ethics, etc.
  3. The leader/manager/direct supervisor does not value the employee’s unique contributions.
  4. The leader/manager/direct supervisor doesn’t offer a clear sense of goals or objectives.
  5. The leader/manager/direct supervisor does not encourage collaboration and teamwork.
  6. The employee’s ideas are not taken seriously.
  7. The employee does not receive meaningful or constructive feedback from the direct supervisor.
  8. The company does not have clearly stated values—or, the actions of the company don’t align with those values.

Reflections on Employee Disengagement

Now let me offer just a few interpretations of this data. First, you’ll notice that a majority of these bullet points directly pertain to the behavior of leaders and managers—meaning that, if you’re in a position of leadership at your company, you set the tone for employee engagement, or the lack thereof! That’s a lot of responsibility, but it also indicates that, if there’s a problem with disengagement, it’s possible to correct it through new leadership paradigms.

Something else that strikes me here is the importance of the big picture. It matters to employees that there be organizational values and objectives and that their individual role play a part in advancing those values and objectives.

Finally, so much of this boils down to communication. Do you make your team members feel valued? Do you engage with their ideas? Do you provide adequate feedback? All of these are matters of good communication, plain and simple.

There are abundant opportunities here to understand where employee disengagement comes from—and also how you can mitigate it. I’d love to talk more about this and invite you to contact me today.

Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of employee engagement, and one of the most sought-after conference keynote speakers on leadership, motivation, and business growth in the United States and around the world. Contact Dr. Rick at or call 888-267-6098.

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