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10 barriers to employee engagement to overcome

In this article, we discuss the most common barriers to employee engagement and share tips on how your organisation can overcome them.

Clélie Protopapas image

Written by Clélie Protopapas

2 Dec, 2022  â€“  7 mins read

Many organisations today understand the importance of employee engagement and are taking steps to ensure that their employees feel motivated and dedicated. However, it can be difficult for organisations to get past some of the most common barriers blocking their path to high employee engagement. Only a tenth of UK employees feel engaged at work. This is a real problem, as a lack of engagement can lead to high turnover rates, high absenteeism levels and reduced productivity. Let’s discuss the most common barriers to employee engagement and how organisations can overcome them.

10 common barriers to employee engagement

Being aware of the barriers to employee engagement is important. Here are some of the most common ones:

Lack of engaging leadership

A lack of engaging leadership is often cited as a key factor in employee disengagement. This can take the form of a distant or unenthusiastic manager or a lack of meaningful feedback and direction. There are considerable detrimental effects to poor leadership, from demoralised and uninspired personnel to teams not sharing accountability for decision-making. This also can cause problems with communication, collaboration and delegation of tasks.

No clear vision for the organisation

Without a shared sense of purpose or direction on moving forward, it can be hard for employees to understand and align their goals with those of the organisation. A lack of vision can also leave employees feeling disengaged from their work — if they don’t know what’s being worked towards, why should they invest their time and energy into it?

No clarity on role expectations

When employees are unsure what tasks they should focus on, they can quickly become disengaged and frustrated. Balancing competing demands and unclear job roles can make them feel overwhelmed and anxious, leading to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism and lowered morale. A poor onboarding process often contributes to this lack of clarity, as new starters can feel lost and confused immediately.

Not enough employee surveys and actions to the feedback

Employee surveys are a great way to gain insight into how employees feel about their roles and the workplace in general. By collecting regular feedback, employers can better understand what is working well and where there is room for improvement. However, many organisations fail to act on these insights or simply don’t carry out enough surveys to get a good picture of employee engagement — which can be seen as a sign that they don’t value employee input.

Lack of development opportunities

Without access to training and other growth initiatives (including mentorship, coaching, e-learning and other learning programmes), employees may feel like their roles are stagnant and their potential for career advancement is slim. This can be both demotivating and disheartening for employees, leading them to become disengaged from their work.

Lack of resources necessary to work

This can include a shortage of basic supplies required to complete tasks, limited access to technology or systems needed to do their job properly, or even inadequate tools and infrastructure needed to perform at a high level. It can also include a lack of human resources to carry out certain tasks, such as a shortage of personnel or insufficient staffing levels. If organisations are unable to provide the necessary resources for employees to work effectively, they can quickly become frustrated and apathetic.

Lack of recognition

Employees need to be recognised and rewarded for their efforts regularly. This can include everything from verbal praise to performance-related bonuses or awards. When people feel appreciated, it can help them stay engaged and motivated in their work. If an organisation lacks a system of recognition or fails to reward employees adequately, it can lead to feelings of alienation and a lack of job satisfaction.

No sense of community

Employees should feel like their colleagues, managers, and even upper management genuinely care about them and their work. Otherwise, they may feel isolated and disconnected, leading to low engagement levels. This is a particularly common barrier in a world where hybrid and work from home has become the norm.

Minimal additional perks

Providing additional perks such as flexible working hours, free meals and snacks, or even company-sponsored events and activities can be a great way to boost employee engagement. These extras can create a sense of appreciation and recognition amongst staff, while also helping to break up the monotony and add some variety to their work weeks.

Poor work-life balance

While it can be tempting to try and squeeze as much work out of employees as possible, it can lead to feelings of burnout and a lack of engagement. People need to feel like they have enough time outside their working hours to rest and relax to stay productive and motivated at their jobs.

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How to overcome barriers to employee engagement?

While these are all common barriers, there are ways to address them and create a more positive work environment. Here are some engagement ideas to motivate employees:

Invest in making the leadership and management more engaging

Good leadership and management are key to having an engaged workforce in any business. Investing in developing your leadership team can help make them more approachable and better able to galvanise your team. Creating ways for leaders to connect with staff virtually and in person will also help create a sense of community and understanding of their objectives. Discussing successes, presenting challenges as opportunities, utilising feedback and providing mentorship programs are all part of strengthening the relationship between leaders and employees. You could also provide training for your management team on developing their skills in areas such as conflict resolution, delegation and communication.


By investing time into strengthening management’s ability to foster an engaged workforce through these means, businesses can reap the rewards of more efficiencies, better job satisfaction and increased employee retention rates.

Create an employee experience strategy

Creating an inspiring employee experience strategy can be the key to helping engage employees and boosting morale in the workplace. When designing an experience strategy, it’s important to look at things from the employees’ perspective. Think about what they need and want in order to feel comfortable and valued at work. This could mean investing in training and development opportunities, creating a sense of community with fun activities like team lunches, or introducing new benefits that support their health and well-being.

An effective strategy should also include initiatives for recognition and appreciation. This includes everything from shoutouts for good results to monetary rewards for outstanding performance. Investing in your employees’ physical, emotional and professional needs will create a work environment in which each individual feels supported, respected and seen. This adds to increased engagement, stronger teams and enhanced productivity.

Increase the frequency of employee surveys

Surveys are a great way to gauge how employees feel about their jobs and can be used to identify areas where improvements or changes may be needed. Surveys should be periodically administered to track any morale or job satisfaction changes. Surveys can also be used to get feedback on processes, policies and procedures that could stand to be revised or eliminated.

The data gathered from employee surveys can then be used to make improvements tailored specifically to your staff’s needs. This will help create an environment where employees feel heard and valued and show that you care about their opinion and are committed to creating an engaging workplace.

Invest in employee wellbeing

Investing in the well-being of your staff can pay dividends down the line, as happy and healthy employees will be more productive and engaged. They’re also less likely to experience work-related burnout and stress.

Offer wellness programs such as subsidies for gym memberships or meditation classes, or provide mental health days off to give them time to recharge. Invest in ergonomic office furniture and equipment to help reduce the risk of injury or discomfort for your staff and provide healthy snacks to keep them energised during the workday. By showing that you care about their well-being, employees will feel appreciated and more likely to stay engaged in their work.

Invest in creating a culture of recognition

Creating a culture of recognition will help employees feel valued for their hard work and contribute to increased engagement. Employee recognition can come in many forms, from verbal praise for good work to rewards for exceptional performance.

If your team goes above and beyond the call of duty, consider offering incentives such as extra vacation days or monetary bonuses. You could also take the time to recognise employees who go above and beyond with shoutouts on social media or in company-wide emails.

By recognising and rewarding your team for their efforts, you will create an environment in which employees feel appreciated, valued and respected – all of which can contribute to a more engaged workforce.


If you’re looking for a quick solution to kick-start your employee engagement efforts, why not try Seenit? Our employee-generated video platform allows organisations to connect instantly with their employees, no matter where they are. It allows organisations to quickly capture and share stories from their teams in engaging, interactive ways, creating powerful connections and a sense of community between colleagues. You can use it to gather feedback, recognise employees, communicate clear objectives and mission statements and much more.

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