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Disengaged employees: The domino effect

Employee engagement is based on trust, integrity and commitment between both the employee and the organisation. Results from an extensive 142-country study on the ‘State of the Global Workplace’ shows that only a shocking 13% of employees worldwide are truly engaged at work, with the rest harbouring poor perceptions and experiences in the workplace.

Contagious behaviour of disengaged employees – the domino effect

In order to gain a positive company culture, every employee needs to participate and feel included. Emotions and behaviours can be socially contagious and just one disengaged employee is enough to set off a domino effect in the workplace, leading to the fragmentation of an ‘inclusive’ work environment and the serious loss of production. Disengaged employeses will be less motivated to self-develop and help shape the future of the organisation. These employees are difficult to manage which can often mean that Managers and HR need to spend more time coaching and mentoring them. In turn, this can cause other employees to feel neglected. Bad attitudes and behaviours will inevitably wear off on other team members causing individuals to withdraw and avoid working with one another. The collaboration of employees is crucial to the growth of any business, and individuals need to work as one team in order for the organisational objectives to be met. If employees become disengaged and collaboration subsequently suffers, then it can cause huge problems for not only the output of that specific team, but for the business as a whole.

Disengaged employees can be detrimental to the company and disrupt the positive energy in the workplace leading to a wide range of problems including high levels of staff turnover, an unproductive workforce and a decline in sales/customer service. The domino effect can occur beyond the workforce and also disrupt other areas of the business:

High levels of staff turnover

A high level of staff turnover is a costly occurrence and can lead to the loss of skills and interruption to the remaining workforce, resulting in reduced worker productivity and low morale. On average, the total cost of replacing an employee equates to approximately £30,000 – loss of efficiency can cost up to £25,000 worth of business with the remaining £5,000 being spent on the logistics of finding a replacement: agency fees, advertising costs, HR and management time. Replacing a staff member is also a lengthy process, a report from Oxford Economics claims it takes up to 28 weeks on average for a new recruit to get up to speed.

Customer service and sales performance

Great products and services come from engaged and dedicated employees, and consumers are more likely to make a purchase as a result of good customer service. Exceptional customer service drives repeat business and brand loyalty, customers can sense and respond to unhappy workers which can cause the loss of current and potential business and damage the company’s profits.

Preventing disengagement

In order to maintain an engaged and productive workforce, it is crucial that an organisation allows its employees to provide feedback on their workplace experiences. This enables the business to identify key areas of focus in order to make critical improvements to the organisation, which can assist in preventing employee disengagement. To maintain and regulate a positive and inclusive culture, employees need to feel listened to. This can be achieved by completing various insightful surveys throughout the employees’ life-cycle in order to regularly review engagement levels of the workforce. CIPD suggest that it is often beneficial to use an independent company to assist in conducting these engagement initiatives, as employees often feel more comfortable engaging with a third party. By implementing these services, organisations are able to capture any potential issues before they escalate and the domino effect of disengaged employees begins.

If you would like to find out more about our range of employee engagement initiatives and services, contact Charlotte Todd-Smith on 07734 972679 or email charlotte.todd-smith@resourcebank.co.uk to see how our HR Solution services can help you improve employee engagement.