The High Cost of a Disengaged Employees

how to engage disengaged workersMany companies think of ‘employee engagement’ as the icing on the cake, something nice to have but not necessary. They’re more concerned with teaching functional or hard skills. You know, ‘how do I get that employee trained on fulfilling an order properly or completing a process more productively.’

The ‘soft skills’ are considered superfluous or a nice to have. HR budgets and time are tight and employee engagement is not a priority.  

Au contraire to the bottom line! A disengaged employee who is ‘dialing it in’, not caring and thinking of the greener pastures somewhere else is a money pit:

“55% of all U.S. workers are not engaged, and 16% are actively disengaged, then 71% of the Americans who go to work every day aren’t engaged in their role. So American businesses are operating at one third of their capacity.” Gallup Management Journal

Here’s another way to look at that statistic. If you could spend $1 and get a return of $3, would you do it?

Successful CEOs and thought leaders,  CEOs like Intel’s Andy Grove and best-selling authors Stephen Covey and Marshall Goldsmith,  consistently say that investing in career development and listening to employees makes employees feel valued. When someone feels valued, they’re engaged and want to perform and help with the mission. It’s only human nature.

Larry & Rebecca Lacy of the Pinnacle Management Group tell a great story of how employee attitude and customer service can make or break a business. In this case, they were looking to buy furniture:

“After we had been wondering through the store for a half hour or so a bored looking man approached us asking if we needed any help. We responded no, and he said, ‘Great. I’ll be right over there if you need anything,’ and scurried back to his co-workers.  He seemed relieved that we weren’t going to interrupt his socialization by wanting do anything stupid like buy furniture.

A few weeks later, our friends were looking for a new chair. They had seen a sales ad from this same store. They wanted to go check it out, so we decided to go with them to see if it was really as bad as we remembered. We didn’t say anything about our previous experience since we didn’t want to taint their perceptions.

Darned if it didn’t happen again, and we all left feeling like we needed a shower.

Imagine the number of customers who the disengaged employees drove away never to return. Why would anyone spend their hard-earned dollars with a bunch of people who obviously didn’t care when there are so many better options?”.

The answer? They didn’t. The company went out of business.

Conclusion: engaged employees bring their best selves and game to work. If times are tough, they’ll figure out a way around any obstacle. Heck, if you ask them they might just come up your next great idea. Want to beat the competition? Sometimes the very solution we’re looking for is right in front of us. We just have to see it and invest in it.

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