Employee Disengagement: 3 Things Business Owners Need to Know

Employees fall into different categories. These include their level of commitment or satisfaction at the job. They might be engaged, disengaged, or actively disengaged.

To learn more about disengagement, business owners can read these points:

1. There’s a Difference between Disengaged and Actively Disengaged Employees

Disengaged employees are people who have lost their emotional commitment to the job. They might no longer derive happiness or satisfaction from it, for example. They might already be feeling uncomfortable because of workplace conflicts or tension.

However, some are actively disengaged. They are not only unhappy but are also acting out their feelings:

  • They can take more than their average number of leaves or be absent often.
  • They cannot complete their task on time. If they do, the outcome can be mediocre or sloppy.
  • They withdraw from the rest of the group or don’t open up to their managers or superiors.
  • Worse, they can bring other employees down with their moods and actions. For instance, they complain a lot in their presence, hoping they will also express a grievance against the business.

2. Disengaged Employees Are Not Necessarily Bad People

Many companies seem to have a black-and-white perspective of disengaged employees. They are not as productive as before; ergo, they are a liability and need to be terminated.

In many situations, disengagement happens because of controllable circumstances. Take, for example, workplace conflicts. According to a survey by the American Institute of Stress, about 28% of workplace stress stems from people issues.

employees talking

To reduce disengagement, the management needs to address workplace conflicts ASAP. One option is employment law mediation, especially when it involves compensation, penalties, job descriptions, and movements within the organization.

Other reasons are a mismatch between their experience or skills and the job requirement. Companies can remedy this by screening applicants properly and providing enough time for training and adjustments during the first week or two of work.

3. Disengagement Is Expensive

Businesses can lose a lot of money because of disengagement. In dollars, it can be as much as 34% of their annual salary. Disengaged employees are more likely to be less efficient or be more absent. Meanwhile, this problem leads to a 15% decrease in profitability.

Now, business owners think that they’d be better off without these employees. However, recent research suggests that fewer than 25% of the workers might be engaged. The rest might be disengaged or even actively disengaged.

Companies also need to deal with a high turnover rate, and that can mean expenses and losses. It can cost up to twice the worker’s annual salary. The higher the seniority, the more expensive it gets.

Plus, terminating employees might only be a Band-Aid solution to the problem. Businesses still need to identify the root cause of the disengagement. Otherwise, new employees can experience the same issue.

Disengagement is not a lost cause. More often than not, employees will become actively engaged again. But it happens only when the business pays attention and acts on it.