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Engagement scores - why are they trending down?

This blog asks more questions than provides answers and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I’m working with several different companies at the moment who have all recently completed engagement surveys for their staff. I’m particularly curious and perturbed about an emerging trend – across the board engagement is trending down. In some cases engagement has plummeted in some teams from previous years’ scores.

What’s happening?

If emotions are contagious, is engagement (or lack of) contagious. As more people become disengaged, are they in turn creating disengagement in others? 

I don’t know.

When I first started my business, I wanted to tap into the untapped potential of organisations and help teams love what they do.

Large corporations are succeeding almost in spite of themselves. There are many unhappy people coming to work each day doing the best they can with their current mindset. The problem is when we have a mindset that is disengaged and not trusting, from the neuroscience research emerging it is very difficult to give our best.
Is it a choice to be engaged and go against this trend? I know people who are engaged – can they infect those around them to create more engagement or is there a tipping point of numbers required?
If we choose to engage in our work, engage with our team and engage with our organisation can a single individual make a difference?

How exciting would that be – an engagement contagion.

Maybe we can plant some engaged individuals in teams throughout the organisation and watch the infection spread!

If it were only that easy. Or is it?

What are you personally doing to remain engaged if you already are, or become engaged if you aren’t?

How can you spread engagement around your team?

Some ideas:

  1. Lack of direction or purpose for the team is often stated as a reason for disengagement. As a leader, use stories to build a strong understanding about the strategic direction for the organisation and of your team – where has it come from and where is it going. Everyone needs to understand the direction they are heading in.
  2. Lack of autonomy can reduce engagement. Focus on the team and give them to room to do their job, treat them as individuals and coach them to reach their potential. Everyone comes to work to do a good job.
  3. Lack of trust creates an unhappy team. Listen to your people and what they have to contribute. Let them share their expertise and ideas and try out new ways of doing things. And be prepared for mistakes to happen and be OK with that. Help the team learn from mistakes.
  4. Doing what you say you will do. When making promises, keep them or explain why they can’t be kept.


As I said, I have more questions than answers. With engagement down trending I'm passionately looking for answers so that everyone can enjoy where they spend most of their life and love what they do.



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