Employee engagement is defined as “the relationship between an organization and its employees.” Like all relationships, they must be built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect with a healthy dose of give and take. How much you put into it, is what you will get out of it.

The statistics on the success of companies with a highly engaged workforce are staggering, so why do some organizations still struggle to find the employee engagement sweet spot?

Here are 5 common pitfalls that will quickly diminish your relationship with your employees:

Ask for their opinion, then do nothing with it.

Most companies use engagement surveys, focus groups, even the old-school suggestion boxes to solicit input from their workforce. Then what? Soliciting input from your employees only matters if you do something with it in a timely manner. That is the differentiator between soliciting input and creating an environment where their opinion truly matters.  

Don’t launch a survey or focus groups unless you are willing to communicate the results and commit to actions based on the feedback. Similarly, create a two-way suggestion box mechanism allowing you to visually share the suggestion and your direct response to it (ex: new carpeting in the break room is a great idea, we’ll evaluate the cost during 2018 budgeting). 

Employees will never feel “heard” unless you tell them what you are doing with the information they gave you.

Forget what it’s like to be in their shoes.

You were there once……young, enthusiastic, hungry to learn, eager to share. You had valuable insights and input to share with your leadership--ideas for new products and services, new more efficient ways of doing things—that’s how you gained credibility, respect and climbed the ladder.

They have the same to offer you.

Don’t underestimate the value of your front-line. They are closest to your products and/or services and more importantly your customers. As such they are in the position to be most knowledgeable and have incredibly insightful feedback to bring to your business.  

‘Pinball Machine’ leadership.

Have you ever experienced a leader that made quick, knee-jerk decisions, then turned around the next week to revisit/tweak the idea, then the following week canned the idea it all together? Complete waste of time, energy and resources…and worse, loss of credibility. There is nothing more frustrating than working for an organization that operates like a ‘pinball machine’.

Be thorough and thoughtful in your decision making. Even if it slows the process down a smidge, it will ensure you are optimize the valuable time of your employees, get the results you desire and gain you far more credibility in the long run.

Failure to communicate.

Failing to communicate (whether intentional or forgetful) creates space for doubt and mistrust. In the absence of having all the facts, employees will try to fill in the blanks and share their theories with one another. And so the grapevine begins…

Control your grapevine by providing your employees with the information directly. Don’t leave it to peers, colleagues, or media to inform and educate your employees on the happenings of your business.

Employees are your most valuable asset and your worst enemy in the communication chain. You choose which role they will play!

Never get comfortable.

Your relationship with your employees is a constant cycle of dating – actively learning about one another, all the while wondering if this will be a long-term fit. It may be a committed relationship for a period of time, but there is no “til death do us part.”

Relationships are hard work and require constant attention. If you get too comfortable and complacent, it will inevitably end in a breakup.


Solvere HR Consulting provides powerful HR solutions that optimize your organizational capability and profitability through your most valuable asset -- your employees.

Learn more at www.solverehr.com.