The State of the American Workplace report indicates that only 30% of workers like their job, leaving 70% of the workforce actively disengaged during the workday. Disengaged employees cost businesses an estimated $300 billion a year. If an employee hates their job or is actively disengaged, then that emotion manifests itself throughout their entire work process, which in turn inhibits other workers. Jeff Haden, a ghostwriter and speaker about management and process improvement, believes that if a worker hates their job then their job will start to hate them back.
Haden recently wrote an article titled, “Hate Your Job? Maybe Your Job Hates YOU” covering all the little unknown ways your job, perceptions, and coworkers turn against you once you start to hate your job. Haden reasons that people who hate their jobs have lost focus – or never had any at all. This shows itself when employees:
- Focus on their superiors more than their peers
- Turn their attention to looking for another job
- Fixate on the wrong bottom line and the wrong ideas
Those who hate their jobs or who have “checked out,” negatively impact the company. Managers should look for the signs below both inside and outside the office.
Disengaged Employees Affect Customer Service Quality
Great customer service goes beyond greeting customers with a smile and basic manners. When managers and supervisors are not around to oversee their employees’ customer service skills, disengaged employees will fall behind on selling products, offering quality service, and ensuring a customer’s loyalty. Disengaged employees sell half as much product on average as engaged employees, meaning that a business loses potential revenue and potential future customers. Employee engagement can positively or negatively influence their customer service, which in turn affects the businesses overall financial performance.
Disengaged Employees Affect Co-Workers
Employees planning to leave their companies, or who are actively disengaged, affect their surrounding co-workers with aggressive attitudes towards the company. People who are disengaged may be that way for several reasons – they may feel:
- Hours aren’t flexible
- Work isn’t meaningful
Whatever the reasons, the employee will feel the need to voice their unhappiness in their actions or words. An unhappy co-worker can cause surrounding employees to feel aggressive or disengaged.
Another symptom of a disengaged employee is their lack of productive work, because they don’t see the point in trying if they will just be leaving the position soon. This lack of productivity forces other co-workers to pick up the slack, causing them to feel overworked and underappreciated. Therefore, the cycle continues and results in more unhappy workers. Slacking employees can be spotted through their lengthy breaks or their constant distraction with games or social media.
Recapturing Disengaged Employees
Every employee is different and will be more or less engaged based on their reasoning and influences. To ensure high productivity and low turnover, a business should evaluate the influence it has on its employees. High engagement is often attributed to:
- Pay raises
- Job redesigns
- Goal setting
- Praising hard work
- Flexible hours
- Improving relationships through company culture
The best way to discover how to motivate and engage employees is to ask them directly. Does your business have unhappy or disengaged employees impacting your bottom line? Your business can keep your employees happy and productive by using the data gathered from an employee engagement survey.