What are the Top Myths About Employee Engagement?
July 30, 2019

Today’s organizational focus on Employee Engagement is both exciting and worrisome. If done right, an organization may realize positive results in the areas of productivity, employee retention and employee commitment. However, be aware of these common MYTHS about how to launch a key business objective intended to increase Employee Engagement:

1. Listening to employees’ feedback is enough.

Whether you launch a formal Engagement Survey or solicit employee feedback about the organization in focus groups (conducted by a third party facilitator), the employee output is only as good as the organization’s commitment to addressing it. Employees are 19 times more engaged when they feel listened to*. However, this includes the organization acting on what they have heard from employees.

2. Employee Engagement surveys are little more than a vehicle for employees to complain about all that is wrong in an organization.

Surveys should focus on two areas of engagement: (1) what the organization is doing well and (2) where the organization needs to improve. This provides an opportunity to both celebrate and sustain positive engagement practices and to mitigate engagement practices that are not working for employees.

3. Employee Engagement surveys have little impact on employee retention.

If done well, surveys have a powerful impact on retention. Millennials are seven times more likely to stay when they feel listened to*. The key to a successful survey includes anonymity, a third party assembling the results, employee focus groups to dig deeper and acting on the feedback. When introducing new policies and practices as a result of an engagement survey, be sure to link the source of the change to survey feedback.

4. Managers should not be involved in employee engagement initiatives because it is not part of their role.

In fact, the organization’s ability to sustain engagement is predicated on the role of the employee’s immediate manager. Managers desiring increased engagement should:

  • Develop their coaching skills to support and enhance their employees’ abilities to achieve their career goals.
  • Partner with their employees to align individual goals with the broader organizational goals.
  • Conduct regular check-in meetings with employees in support of their current performance and future career goals.
  • Communicate frequently on the progress of the team and of the organizational business goals.

5. Employees with the longest tenures within an organization are the most engaged.

Actually, employees with 3-5 years of tenure tend to have the lowest levels of engagement. This is because after 3-5 years of experience, many employees feel uninspired and ready for their next challenge to grow as professionals*. This data supports the critical role of the manager in continuously developing employees’ skills to overcome this 3-5 year engagement slump.

6. Employee Engagement is the responsibility of the Human Resources area.

Employee Engagement requires full ownership within an organization by Senior Leaders, managers and employees. Each employee needs to commit to “moving the needle” on engagement. Without this top down, bottoms up approach, engagement initiatives will not succeed.

Prior to launching an engagement initiative, it is critical that everyone within the organization is fully on board and that they understand the intent and the commitment to this important business initiative. Working with experienced consultants from KardasLarson will provide your organization with guidance and best practices around survey development, survey feedback to all levels of the organization and strategies for implementing behavioral change designed to increase engagement.

*Trends in Employee Engagement: What we learned from listening in 2018 Newmeasures, LLC 2019 [PDF]

Cheryl Chester

Cheryl Chester


With 25+ years HR experience, Cheryl's focus includes leadership development, OD, performance management, employee engagement, and succession planning.

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KardasLarson is a human resources and business consulting firm that maximizes employee performance so people and organizations prosper.



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