Know The Enemies of Employee Engagement

By Leigh Branham

We don't need another academic study to confirm for us that employee engagement is linked to greater employee productivity, better customer service, higher revenues, and profitability. There are plenty of such studies already (to see 29 of them, go to and click on Appendices, then Appendix C). Here's the question I keep asking myself--Why should we spending our energies proving what we intuitively know already? Instead, if we already know that higher levels of employee engagement are worth striving for, and we are serious about creating a more engaged workforce, it seems to me that we should be focused on: 1. understanding the obstacles to employee engagement, and 2.implementing the practices that increase it.

"Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster," wrote Sun Tsu centuries ago. If business leaders truly want to fight the battle for employee engagement, then the first sign that they are serious about their commitment is when they begin to acknowledge the enemies of it. When judged by this criterion, we see evidence that many companies are not taking the commitment to building a culture of engagement seriously.

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