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The High Cost of Disengagement and 3 Steps to Address It

Disengaged employees are only there for the paycheck, doing the bare minimum to get by. According to Gallup, only 30% of employees are engaged in most organizations in the U.S. Consider the following:

  • 70% are only partially engaged or are disengaged in their work.

  • 17% are actively disengaged meaning that they are actively working against the company, undermine what their engaged coworkers are trying to accomplish, and can infect up to 7 other employees.

How Much Is Disengagement Costing You?

According to Gallup, disengaged employees have:

  • 37% higher absenteeism

  • 18% lower productivity

  • 5% lower profitability

When that translates into dollars, you're looking at the cost of 34% of a disengaged employee's annual salary, or $3,400 for every $10,000 they make. YIKES!

Fixing Your Engagement Problem

The first step towards fixing your engagement problem is acknowledging the problem exists and committing to taking proactive steps to fix it. This may be a more significant stumbling block than you might think!

According to an Achievers study:

  • 9% said the leadership in their organizations is very committed to culture initiatives

  • 58% of respondents said that their leadership takes no action to try to improve culture

There are some overarching things your organization needs to do if your organization has a big engagement problem which I will share over the next few weeks. However, let's look at 3 steps that the manager can take towards moving these employees up towards engagement or out of the organization as they can do a lot of harm.

3 Steps to Address Disengagement:

#1 Have a stay interview-type conversation with the employee

Ask them some open-ended questions such as:

  • What do you like the most about working here?

  • What do you like least about working here?

  • What would you like to learn here?

  • What motivates (or demotivates) you?

  • What can I do to best support you?

Show you care and act on the feedback they share if you can.

#2 Begin holding them accountable by setting goals and having regular conversations about progress.

Ensure that you share clear expectations and set some specific goals around those expectations. I like to use a format which includes the specific goal, steps and deadline. Meet with them regularly to monitor progress and share two-way feedback on how things are going.  

#3 Start the corrective action or PIP (performance improvement plan) process if performance/behavior continues to be subpar.

If they aren't achieving goals, use your organization's disciplinary action process to move them out of the organization. If you discover that they may be in the wrong seat on the bus, you may be able to help with identifying a better fit for them.

Want to learn some Insider Tips for Elevating Engagement in your organization? Join my COMPLIMENTARY WEBINAR. July 25th from 2 to 3 p.m. EST

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