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Analyze the Employee Engagement Problem to Identify Root Cause


To identify root cause. Problems tend to reoccur unless they are solved at the root cause level.

Primary Question:

What is the root cause of the specific problem that you can impact in your role?

Key Points:

Continue to ask why something is happening until you reach root cause

Confirm the reason(s) why through observation 

Ask what is causing the specific, measurable gap you have identified. There are many tools, with varying levels of structure, that you can use to discover root (underlying) cause(s), including Five Whys and the Fishbone Diagram. Pick one that feels comfortable.

Additional observation may be needed to confirm the reason(s) why something is happening.

When you have identified the root cause(s) of the gap, you are ready to identify countermeasures (solutions) and conduct an Experiment.


  • It is easy to stop digging into cause too early. Instead, keep asking why until you get to a ‘circular’ answer (“because that’s the way it is”).
  • If there are many root causes, the problem likely needs to be broken down into smaller pieces, each of which has a root cause.

Tools and Resources:

Back to Employee Engagement Problem Solving Guide overview and tools page

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