Are Companies Failing Their Employees?

Although many employers have identified the importance of human capital management to the success of their company, few are committing to creating an engaged and productive workforce. Instead, executives and senior HR are choosing to blame the economy for the low levels of employee engagement. Conversely, research does not show any noteworthy fluctuation in engagement levels, despite the economic crisis; this suggests that the problem lies within organisations.

With surveys showing that 83% of employees across the UK are either not engaged or actively disengaged, it is important that managers and executives understand the severity of this issue and begin to invest resources into engaging their employees.

“Actively disengaged employees are costing the UK economy between £52 and £70 billion annually” – Gallup, 2013

Firstly, we must understand the reasons why employees are disengaged and in general dissatisfied with their jobs. Surveys across various sectors show that:

Many employees are unclear about their role and how their goals fit in with those of the organisation.

Employees feel frustrated as they are unclear about how they can improve their performance and progress with their careers.
There is a large disparity between how managers rate themselves and how employees see them, with employees often having negative views about their direct and senior managers, particularly relating to:

– Frequency and quality of feedback
– Support and mentoring
– Opportunity for development

75% of employees experience a poor sense of purpose, poor well-being and are not motivated to achieve organisational goals.
– Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index, 2015

Therefore, poor clarity of work, poor management and low interest or investment in employee development leads to low levels of engagement, well-being and satisfaction. This impacts overall productivity and efficiency, thus jeopardising the company’s success. What can companies do?

Train managers and leaders; great managers support and empower their employees, are able to identify strengths and weaknesses, provide feedback and advice. Moreover, they are able to align employee capabilities with organisational objectives.
Invest in developing employees; it is important to assist in identifying gaps in employees’ skills and knowledge and offer specific and relevant training, which allows employees to reach their professional goals and increases their engagement.
Create a culture based around communication and inclusiveness; it is necessary to ensure employees have a clear understanding of processes and how their roles contribute to the overall organisational goals. This clarity will provide employees with a better understanding of their roles and their purpose within the organisation, thus helping to motivate them towards achieving these goals.

Endeavouring to achieve and maintain higher levels of employee engagement not only contributes to a company’s short-term survival, but also is crucial to longer-term business success.

At OPM we offer a wide range of interventions, from executive and team coaching to leadership development; using the latest methods and techniques, OPM can conduct a thorough analysis of your needs. Following feedback, our experienced occupational psychologists can help you identify and design the best development strategy to engage and motivate your employees, and increase your organisation’s performance.

If you have any questions or wish to find out more information about our services please contact us on 0203 5665980 or email

Working with OPM has been a great experience. OPM Associates are incredibly talented and responsive, willing to be flexible to meet our changing needs. Feedback from our staff and managers is always positive, in particular how well OPM Associates have been able to overcome difficult challenges and provide inspiration to others.

Anna Petts, Assistant Director,
Organisational Development & Learning at London Business School

March 20, 2020