Employee Engagement, Employer Branding

The Cost of a Disengaged Employee

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Let’s start with this simple question. What percentage of employees are disengaged? The answer — Seventy-percent of the American workforce is made up of disengaged employees. Fortunately, there are ways to combat the costs of disengaged employees if you understand what they are, how they affect your business and steps you can take to turn them into brand ambassadors.

First, let’s define an engaged employee. Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and will ultimately move the organization forward.

Disengaged employees, on the other hand, are essentially “checked out”. They’re sleepwalking through their workday and may be putting in the time, but lack passion and energy.

Lastly, actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work – they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish. They aren’t just unhappy, but they’re aggressively lowering morale and productivity levels. These people can be a real danger to any organization.

Of all these employees, you really need to watch out for actively disengaged employees who, for every one step forward, bring your organization two steps back. However, any level of disengagement can damage your culture, brand and finances.

The cost of disengaged employees on culture

When it comes to company culture, it’s important to share the same vision across your organization. Are disengaged employees going to share your vision with the same passion engaged employees have for you culture? People that are “putting time – but not energy or passion – into their work” discount the hard work of the engaged 30% of the workforce that is driving your company forward.

Chew on this: people are likely to share a good experience with three people, but will share a bad one with 10 or more. Don’t let this happen to you! By allowing disengaged employees to continue working for you, you risk losing engaged employees.

Actively disengaged employees affect your brand

Building an employer brand is no small feat – it can take a while to build. Don’t let all of your hard work to collapse from the inside by mismanaging disengaged employees. Your greatest brand ambassadors are the people you employ, helping you to not only promote your brand to customers but also to potential candidates.

When an employee is actively disengaged, the snippets they share with the world can be neutral and aren’t necessarily always negative, but they still aren’t the positive expressions needed to make your company stand out from the competition.

It’s important to stand out from the competition to gain a recruiting advantage, especially when 84% would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent reputation.

The true cost of disengaged employees on your bottom line

Besides brand and culture, there’s one more area that can be extremely affected by disengaged employees: your bottom line. Disengaged employees are estimated to cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion, according to a Gallup poll. And, according to a CareerBuilder study, 69% of employers say they’ve been negatively affected by a bad hire in the past year. Forty-one percent believe this cost their organization over $25,000, while 24% said it cost them more than $50,000.

Your disengaged employees are sleepwalking through the day, but worse than that, they’re potentially costing your company billions. Ultimately, turning employees into engaged employees and ultimate brand ambassadors will leave you with happier customers, increased creativity levels and less sick days taken by your employees. Engaged employees are fundamental to the success of your business.

Quick ways to solve disengagement

Don’t lose what your company is working so hard to achieve! The costs to your culture, brand and bottom line aren’t worth it when there are simple actions you can take to reengage employees. It can take some time to do so, but biting off a few of these items at a time can help you move in the right direction.

  • Take in feedback. Read what your past and current employees are saying about you on Glassdoor. View your word cloud to see positive and negative themes arising among your employees.
  • Do something about it. Don’t just take in feedback – do something to change. Discuss what’s happening on review sites like Glassdoor with your management team.
  • Make a plan to engage your employees. Here are some tips we have for engaging your current workforce! It can also be helpful to compile all ideas into one place. Whether it’s an Excel spreadsheet, your Glassdoor profile or a Word document, keep all of your feedback in one place and make a plan.
  • Ask your employees to provide feedback honesty and regularly. This will help you see how people are responding to the changes you are making, what you can still do to improve and the health of your overall organization. Also, get buy-in from employees on your messaging and employer brand – their opinion counts.

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