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How Disengaged Employees are Hurting your Business

As a business owner or manager, your responsibilities are multidimensional and far-reaching. Day to day tasks range from customer relations and employee management to, ultimately, driving the bottom line. However, many business owners fail to recognize one of the biggest issues within their organization: the disengaged employee. Recent Gallup polls found 7 in 10 employees are disengaged from their job source, so chances of having one within your company are very high!

Let’s define an engaged employee! Engaged employees work with passion and are profoundly connected to their job. They are innovators and ultimately drive your company towards success. High engagement leads to high efficiency, low turnover, and profit growth.

Disengaged employees, however, are essentially “unplugged”. They “get through” the workday and while they put in the time, they are unmotivated, lacking energy and passion. Often, their disengagement is contagious, spreading to other staff members and lowering overall morale.

Impact of the Disengaged Employee

So, what is the real impact of a disengaged workforce?

1) Disengaged employees make more mistakes and lower overall productivity. Recent data from a 2012 Towers Watson study concluded disengaged employees make upwards of 100 times the number of mistakes than their engaged peers. That is 100 times more money, time and energy wasted.

2) Unhappy employees will be looking for other, more satisfying job opportunities. Constant turnover leads to huge retraining costs for your business. Employers cite costs upwards of 2/3 of a year’s salary due to constant overturn and training.

3) Disengaged employees lose customers. Many customers will not return to a business after receiving poor service— unhappy employees are essentially firing customers! Employees who engage directly with customers, particularly in the service industry, are the face of your company. Statistics show that the majority of customers vote with their dollar and will not support a business with poor customer relations. It is important to look internally when assessing overall company success for this critical reason.

4) Disengaged employees will often harm the reputation of your business by speaking negatively, or at best, neutrally about your company outside of work. It is vitally important that your employees act as brand ambassadors for your company both on the job and off.

5) Most importantly, disengaged employees equal lost revenue. Recent government reports show that businesses with low engagement scores have 33% less revenue than those with high engagement scores. If your company isn’t growing or is losing revenue, it is time to look at the level of engagement in your workforce.

Beat Disengagement and Focusing on Engaging your Staff

According to a study from the Harvard Business Review, lack of employee recognition is the number one reason employees leave their jobs. Reinforce a positive work environment by continually recognizing an employee’s contributions and accomplishments. Recognize and reward the behaviors you want to see and they will be repeated.

Every employee wants to feel engaged with their work, beyond a basic paycheck. Strive to foster a company culture of shared values and proficiencies and unite your staff around them. Hire and train employees to these values every time, and you will see your overall workforce engagement grow exponentially!

Lastly, define the purpose of your company. If you don’t have a compelling company purpose, employees will look for a job source that does. Define your company goals and expectations and work to align every employee with them. Work to integrate every employee completely and reinforce how their daily engagement relates to the overall success of the organization.

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