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People Management

Why employees aren’t engaged at work and what you can do about it


The world is currently experiencing an employee engagement crisis and recent data suggests that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work. But why are employees not engaged and what can facility managers do about it?

Everybody talks about employee engagement and the advantages it holds for organisations. Also our own research confirms that employee engagement positively impacts the company bottom line and drives higher customer satisfaction.

So why is it not working? And why aren’t employees engaged at work?

Their strengths do not shine through in their jobs

As human beings we thrive when we get the chance to do what we love doing. Something that stimulates us mentally and something we find interesting.

If these factors aren’t present within the work environment, then our job is simply not that exciting to wake up to in the morning.

A Gallup study shows that employees who use their strengths every day at work are six times more likely to be engaged than those who do not. Furthermore, 71% of your employees are disengaged when a leader or managers focuses on what they have not done well.

Tip 1: Focus on employee strengths

The Gallup study also showed that when managers are focused on employee strengths, 61% of workers are engaged and only 1% experience themselves as disengaged.

Even though employee weaknesses shouldn’t be ignored, it is important to strengthen the focus on what employees do well at work and develop the individuals in the context of their natural talents at a level where they feel that their contribution matters and makes a difference in the workplace.

They do not feel their work is important and valued

There is nothing more disengaging than feeling that the work you do, as an employee, isn’t prioritized, valued or important.

If employees lose their work purpose and aren’t aware how their contribution makes a difference for the broader company – then it is a lost call.

On the other hand, research keeps on proving that employees who see a clear connection between the work they do and a positive outcome feel very engaged.

Tip 2: Be an inclusive manager

Focus on inclusiveness in your leadership! This will improve your employees’ belief in the importance of their work and give them a clear purpose.

Make sure to give your employees feedback on a regular basis and let them know exactly where their personalities shine through and make a difference for the organisation as a whole.

They have lost the track of company purpose, vision and goals

There is nothing more important for employees than having a purpose with whatever they do in life. This also means that there is nothing more disengaging and demotivating that losing track of the company purpose, vision and goals.

Tip 3: Create a clarity of company purpose, vision and goals

For employees to be engaged in their work, they must believe in the company purpose, vision and goals. The management must excel in continuously bringing these factors into play.

On an individual level, studies show that if managers help employees to set performance goals, employee engagement reaches an incredible 69%. If managers do not help employees with setting these goals, 53% will consider themselves to be disengaged at work.

To make your employees engaged at work, setting clear goals, expectations and continuously reinforcing the company purpose and why we are doing what we are doing will undoubtedly make a happier workforce.

Learn more about how you can support your employees and the new ways of working. Download our ISS 2020 Vision White Book: New Ways of Working – The workplace of the future. Simply click the button below.



  • I fully agree about the above mentioned observations and I think it’s liberating that one of the worlds largest service companies are focusing on this very important topic.

    • Thanks for the acknowledgement Søren! Being a service organisation – our employees are our greatest asset. The importance of employee engagement should never be underestimated by any business of any kind.

  • Thank you for some very important and helpful tips. I believe it is a very complex area and it is hard to find the golden rule and the size that fits us all. In general I find it would benefit the organization if employee engagement surveys were made more frequently and in real time. The balance between input of more classic strategic data and employee engagement data is often unequal in many companies today. Whereas the more classic strategic data (market, economic, logistics, customers, product development etc.) is often collected on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, employee engagement surveys are often done every second or perhaps every year. A more equal balance between those two areas would not only sent a clear signal to the whole organization. It would also underline the necessity for an engagement strategy and continuously training of leaders and employees within this area. Thank you.

    • You’re so welcome Mads! Happy that you found our tips useful and inspiring. That’s a really good and important point – keep them coming :-). Having an annual employee engagement survey is a good start, but there is no doubt that to work with Employee Engagement more strategically, frequent and real-time feedback can provide more value that one single annual snapshot – both for the employee, the manager and the business overall. Thank you!

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