Study: Disengaged employees can cost companies up to $550B a year
- A third of employees aren’t truly engaged on the job, a joint study shows. The Engagement Institute — a collaboration of The Conference Board, Sirota-Mercer, Deloitte, ROI, The Culture Works and Consulting LLP — released a study of 1,500 respondents showing that disengaged employees cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year.
- DNA of Engagement: How Organizations Can Foster Employee Ownership of Engagement examined how expectations, personalities, incentives and motivations fully engage or disengage employees at all levels of their jobs. The study found that when employees don’t take some responsibility for creating and sustaining positive attitudes and behaviors, organizations’ efforts to engage them are futile.
- The study also found that employees assume most engagement initiatives should come from leadership; 95% of respondents recognize when they’re becoming disengaged. Compelling missions, highly trusted relationships and well-designed jobs were all listed as elements that help employees take more responsibility for engagement.
Employees must take some ownership of engagement for success and job satisfaction. The idea that certain personalities and perspectives might make some employees more inclined to engage themselves in their work is the subject of intense industry research.
Some of the employees who lack these traits and act passively, however, might work in top-down managed organizations where initiatives always come from leadership. Employees in low-paying jobs, in which turnover is high, also tend to wait for management to act, rather than take the initiative.
An overwhelming percentage of survey respondents said they know when they’re becoming disengaged. Disengagement often leads to overall job dissatisfaction, which is a powerful sentiment not to recognize. Employers and workers might need to decide whether re-engagement is possible or if workers need to look elsewhere for job satisfaction.