Employee engagement is the quality of the dynamic between an employee and the employer. The engagement is considered high when the employees are enthusiastic about their work, and aid in the expansion of the goals. Disengagement occurs when one employee or more are negatively impacted and decide to do and act on their own accord without caring for the common goal.
As a leader, you must be prepared for these situations. You should plan for prevention, as well as for consequences. If you do not think this is important enough, read nine reasons why low engagement will bleed your company dry.
1. Profitability: When one slows down, it all slows down.
Think merchandise. Think selling. Think time limits and quotas. A disengaged employee, in the field of sales, for example, will cause a loss of 22% as far as incoming earnings, according to a 2013 Gallup Poll. Disengagement slows down the dynamics of the selling process by disregarding marketing cues, ignoring potential customers, and stalling the very important opportunities that surface during negotiation.
This translates into financial loss and poor customer service. In turn, this can also transform into poor word-to-mouth reputation once unhappy customers start to speak to one another.
In any field, from manufacturing to news reporting, disengagement means slowing down the important communication processes that most take place when employees work in cyclical work environments. Think what would happen if one step out of a series of 13, 100, prevents the rest of the cycle to be completed. It means loss of profits due to low production, or slow production.
Aside from production of goods, the productivity of a disengaged employee does not amount to the common goal of an organization. It is either poor quality, incomplete, or lackluster. Having a plan of action that rewards those who are engaged in productivity may be the solution that all leaders need.
3. Safety incidents
We blame text messaging for many car accidents out there. But lack of attention is not limited to driving or crossing the street. A disengaged employee is likely to make assumptions about everything, from what is expected of employees, to how things are done. Contrastingly, an engaged employee is on alert at all times, partly, because alertness is one of the qualities that pays most attention to details. Not being in tandem with the purpose of working is what causes all safety to go awry, and what ends up costing the company time, replacements, medical care, absences, and much more.
Disengaged employees only care about themselves, and about how the work environment benefits them. They also tend to think more about what they can get away with, rather than what they can do better. A disengaged employee may also be unmotivated to even go to work. It is all a part of the same thing. Leaders must pay attention to lack of motivation, as this is actually a very easy fix situation that can be arranged with a points or incentive system.
5. Quality issues
There cannot be good quality in production or manufacturing if there is no attention to detail. In order to achieve this attention, one must be focused and motivated to make something well done. Disengaged employees are not going to spend the extra time paying attention to detail; therefore, the quality of the final production may or may not be what leaders expect.
Disengaged employees are likely to want to disengage others. This is a terrible influence that, in gullible and weaker employees, may turn into the “rotten apple” syndrome, where one person affects all the other ones negatively. When more than one employee is disenchanted with the work environment, they will inevitably leave it, or switch to another place. This means a shrinkage in your work force, sometimes losing employees who are actually good.
7. Property loss
We are all familiar with the prototype employee who loves to “supply” their home offices, or kitchen cabinets, with products from the work place. Engaged employees are very unlikely to engaged in unethical practices such as this one. Disengaged employees could really care less. Pay close attention because property loss equals money loss.
8. Unethical behavior
When disengagement comes from pure lack of work ethics, there is no motivation that will ever fix that. Pay close attention to behaviors that touch upon fraternization, excess familiarities, potential harassment, lateness or absenteeism. The results from this include loss, low productivity, potential law suits, low motivation, and overall disengagement from employees who are affected by those behaviors.
9. Unnecessary stress
A stressful work environment, caused by disengaged employees, will bleed a company dry. First, the culture and atmosphere of the work environment will be negatively impacted and will likely result in less enthusiastic production. Second, employees will be divided and grouped, breaking the overall balance of the workplace. Finally, it may cause added absences and could lead to people quitting, also causing loses to the organization.
Conclusion: Pay close attention to the cues of disengaged employees. Put a pan in place, whether it is to prevent disengagement or encourage motivation through incentives. Ultimately, it is the organization that pays the price. It is better to be safe than sorry.