Employee Disengagement: Underlying Key Causes And Solutions

Employee Disengagement: Underlying Key Causes And Solutions

Employee disengagement isn’t a new problem.

You’ve probably experienced it before – the feeling of absolute apathy and disconnection from your job. You go through the motions, but you’re not fully engaged or invested in your work.

Now imagine this feeling multiplied, across your entire team.

This is the pervasiveness of employee disengagement. It is a problem that affects not just the individual employee, but also the entire organisation.

The consequences of allowing employee disengagement to develop include greater absenteeism, reduced productivity, increased employee turnover, and lower overall morale at the workplace, among many others. In short, it spells disaster for any company, hence the importance of acting on it immediately and fostering its positive counterpart among your employees and top talents before they decide it is time to explore other opportunities.

Recognising Employee Disengagement

At first, it can be difficult to spot the transition where employee engagement turns to disengagement, but there are tell-tale signs that indicate the former is nearing its end:

  • Waning enthusiasm for work
  • Decreasing level of involvement and fewer questions asked during meetings
  • Hiding behind excuses and complaints
  • Reluctance to support team members

Primary Causes of Employee Disengagement

There can be numerous reasons employees gradually lose their connection with the business’s vision, culture, and goals. Although disengaged employees can be tough to identify at first, the reasons why they become such are easier to pinpoint.

Lack of Work-Life Balance

The high-paced nature of today’s workplace culture means employees must put more time and effort into their work as management expects them to prioritise their jobs first. As such, workers ultimately develop poor-work balance and burnout, which is anything but helpful to maintaining their work performance.

This problem is among the top reasons for the rise in demand for flexible working stemming from the months-long mandatory WFH arrangement. Transitioning to remote work allowed employees to restore their work-life balance, which did wonders for their overall well-being as they got back the time to live their lives.

What you can do:

In this respect, organisations that recognise the importance of unwinding have a better chance of keeping their staff engaged for longer. Thus, consider what your company can offer that lets employees take a healthy amount of time off. Providing things like in-office amenities (entertainment lounges and gyms, for starters), off-site work opportunities, benefit programs, and so on are a good start, but they are only a small part that makes up the bigger picture, as we will continue to expound on below.

Little to No Growth Opportunities

People generally need to evolve regardless of their line of work. They want to know that they started somewhere and have reached a higher point through hard work and volition and that they can go even further. There is no end to a person’s learning phase, but it sometimes has its plateau periods.

Employee engagement is all about the mutual commitment between employers and their employees, with the two parties mutually helping each other further their goals; an organisation helps its staff achieve their potential, and they, in turn, help meet its business goals. This reciprocating relationship is what employee engagement is about and leads to discretionary effort.

What you can do:

As such, re-evaluate what your organisation provides regarding work advancement, personal growth, and knowledge acquisition. If insufficient, there is more room to implement programs to fulfil your staff’s development needs. In addition, consider freeing up any available human resources that can impart valuable insights into the human psyche and an employee’s needs to let your workforce better understand their desired development path.

No Clarity

Going somewhere without any clear vision is no different from trying to find a needle in a haystack. Not many employees will be content with completing daily tasks with no bigger picture or a sense of purpose behind them. In fact, this arrangement is among the quickest ways to lead to employee disengagement, as no vision makes them passionate to push forward. In essence, employees need to believe in something and understand the meaning behind their work.

What you can do:

Therefore, having the organisation’s vision passionately infused among the top management is the key that inspires employees. If ever this vision is still a big fuzzy or loses its edge over time, redefine it by asking key questions about the why of the company’s existence and what it stands for.


Employee disengagement is the failure to capture discretionary effort, i.e. employees going above and beyond putting in the ordinary effort day in, day out. That said, fostering engagement is not the be-all and end-all, and it is not easily achieved by providing sought-out perks, hybrid working, training programs, and the like.

Successful engagement is about acknowledging that an organisation is a society where everyone comes together to achieve a common purpose that enables the economy and its citizens to thrive. Simply put, employee engagement is about people’s minds and hearts.

Let StrengthsAsia help you address employee disengagement in your organisation with our renowned leadership development workshops and employee engagement training in Singapore designed to optimise the skills of your key personnel. Experience the StrengthsFinder difference with our workshops today and learn how to make the most of your individual strengths for greater success. To learn more about StrengthsAsia and the courses we offer, you can reach out to us here.

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