As leaders we emphasise engagement but do we understand what might enrage our people?

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So much is written about why it’s important that people in organisations are actively engaged. Every year there are studies undertaken internally by an array of companies, and externally by reputable researchers around the globe. Over the last decade people engagement has become an important topic and will remain so in the next decade and beyond as organisations better understand how people engagement contributes to organisational success and profitability.

The majority of studies show there are a group of factors that will drive strong people engagement,[1] and which companies focus on, foster and develop:

  • Quality of leadership provided from the top of the organisation down.
  • Brand reputation, employee value proposition[2] and corporate responsibility.
  • Career and learning opportunities.
  • Recognition and reward.
  • The work itself including levels of empowerment and autonomy provided to carry out the work.
  • Safety, job security, and work/life balance.
  • Practices relating to communication, diversity and inclusion, customer focus.

By contrast, I was in my favourite book shop browsing the business section as I am prone to do when time permits and I came across a book with the curious title Employee Enragement; Why people hate working for you.[3] I just had to buy it with all that continues to be written about employee engagement.

It turns out that the author has interviewed 2,400 people. Approximately 40% of the sample came from Australia, the same from the USA, and the remainder spread across other parts of the world. He found the top five areas that enrage talented people in organisations are, in order of importance:

  • Lazy or underperforming co-workers who command the same salary as talented top performers.
  • Being underappreciated or receiving no recognition. No matter age, gender or cultural background, appreciation and recognition is a fundamental human need.
  • Communication issues; people should hear important information from their leader not the grapevine or worse still read it in a newspaper.
  • Accountability and responsibility. These are two of the biggest drivers of angst, they are not interchangeable, they have different meaning, and as the author points out you can’t be partly responsible or jointly accountable. You are either responsible or not, accountable or not.
  • Negativity is a motivation suppressor because it is a contagion that inflicts everyone unless dealt with effectively by a leader.

While I have shared the top five findings from this book there is another 45 items that are identified that make people roll their eyes. The great thing is that not only does he identify the top 50 causes that impact engagement, solutions are also offered to remedy these situations.

It’s such an easy read, if only half of the 50 items receive focus there would a positive change in the scale in which people engage in any organisation.


Viventé Australia enables leaders and managers to create the conditions that allow their people to do their best work every day thus creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its outcomes.

[1]Drawn from Aon Hewitt Engagement Model

[2] The balance of the rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance in the workplace.

[3] Employee Enragement; Why people hate working for you: James Adonis

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