Very few studies have been done to quantify the actual monetary effects of a disengaged workforce. And even fewer studies have been conducted on the effects of a single disengaged employee in a team.
Why is it important?
It is important simply because unless organizations start measuring the effects of disengagement in true productivity and profitability terms, the importance of engagement will be very hard to be appreciated. This will result in leadership not valuing the benefits of employee engagement initiatives.
Even in smaller teams, one disengaged employee is enough to bring the productivity of the whole team down. Most of the productivity loss happens in a gradual manner, which often results in teams feeling the ill effects of that disengaged employee rather late in the process. I have personally experienced this in multiple teams and I am sure some of you reading this post would have experienced this as well.
A Gallup study projects that disengaged employees cost the American economy $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity. The study also finds that 69% of employers say that they have been affected by a bad hire in the past year, while 41% of employers say that this cost (the cost of a bad hire) is over $25,000 per year per such hire, and 24% say that this cost is over $50,000 per year per such hire for them. That’s a huge cost.
Cost of a Disengaged workforce
Disengaged employees affect an organization’s/team’s culture. Employees who are putting time in but not energy or passion, completely undermine all the good work done by others. They affect an organization’s brand value. Statistics show people are likely to share one good experience with 3 people, but will share one bad experience with 10 or more people. And most importantly, they affect your bottom line. Disengaged employees are costing companies around the world millions if not billions.
How do you spot a disengaged employee in your team? In other words, What makes a disengaged employee?
Actively disengaged employees:
> Are Consistently Against Virtually Everything (CAVE)
> Believe they are doing everything they can and everyone else is wrong
> Close themselves off from anyone who challenges them to change
> Are not efficient
> They show poor judgment in their approach to work
> Consistently produce poor quality work
> Tend to accept anything that comes along
> Are essentially “checked out”
> Undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish
> Are aggressively lowering morale and productivity
And what symptoms do they exhibit?
They tend to:
> Make excuses (for everything)
> Show lack of enthusiasm
> Be irresponsible or Not take responsibility for mistakes
> Gossip (mostly spreading rumors or spreading negativity about others in the team)
> Not ask questions
> Not help others
> Be distracted
> Lie (even for trivial things)
> Be independent (don’t prefer to work with teams or don’t prefer to participate in team events)
> To take no initiatives/Not be proactive
> Exhibit no Growth (skills and overall professionalism)
Keep this list above handy.
If you see any of the symptoms above in anyone in your team, it is time to evaluate what is causing the disengagement. It could be your style of leadership, it could be the team dynamics and expectations, it could be any combination of factors, but it also could be a bad hire or a bad fit – a case of someone who truly doesn’t belong in that role in your team.
The sooner you recognize that, the quicker you will be able to turn your productivity around.
Don’t let disengagement creep in..Act NOW before it is too late!