What if I told you that at the end of the year, you’re going to be facing a $25,000 fine?

Would you be OK with that? What if it was $40,000?

The truth is, in 41 percent of companies, disengaged employees are costing over $25,000 per year. Sometimes, in 25 percent companies, that price goes up to $50,000. The employees who are sleepwalking through the day are costing companies billions of dollars and it’s time to do something about it.

A recent survey by the State of the American Workplace stated that 70 percent of the American workforce is made up of disengaged employees. Basically, these employees show up, but are “checked out.” Although, they’re putting in the time, but lack all passion or energy for their work.

The other 30 percent are engaged employees who work with passion, who feel a profound connection to their company and are driven, innovative, and will ultimately lead the organization forward.

We need more of the later, and less of the former.

employees engaged in meeting

So how do you transform your disengaged workforce into a powerhouse of productivity? It includes a change in company culture, employee retention and employee appreciation.

Start with learning why people are disengaged.

Why are your employees disengaged? 

  • They feel stressed and isolated at work.
  • Their skills aren’t being utilized.
  • They aren’t appreciated for the work that they do.
  • Their manager focuses on the negative and gives very little praise.
  • Their contributions are often overlooked, or credit is given to someone else.

Cognizant employers understand the cost of disengaged employees and are striving to use programs, benefits, and plans that encourage engagement and employee retention. Not only is it more profitable to engage your employees, but it pays for itself over and over by avoiding turnover in the future.

happy employee

The benefits of engaged employees

According to Gallup, “Engaged workers stand apart from their not-engaged and actively disengaged counterparts because of the discretionary effort they consistently bring to their roles. These employees willingly go the extra mile, work with passion, and feel a profound connection to their company. They are the people who will drive innovation and move your business forward”

Engaged employees create profitability, increase employee retention and are more efficient throughout the company.

  • Highly involved employees report 22 percent higher productivity
  • Engaged employees have 25 percent lower turnover
  • Your business is 70 percent more likely to succeed long term if your employees are engaged.
  • Safety incidents are reduced by 48 percent.

Company Culture and Employee Engagement 

In simple terms, your company culture is how your employees and managers interact when no one else is watching. Is it comfortable? Intimidating? Fun? Professional? Casual? The answer has a direct correlation with employee retention.

The number one reason that employees go the extra mile is when they feel a sense of camaraderie. They feel that employee appreciation. In simple terms, they know their managers and they like them.

It is a strong company culture that supports relationships and growth that allows employees to flourish. While 90 percent of CEOs agree that improving company culture will also improve the value of their company, only 15 percent are happy with their current company culture.

The truth is, company culture is not complicated if you are dedicated to making a difference. Let’s get started:

  • Take in feedback. You have to be willing to talk to them. Ask them about their lives, their work, their families. Give your employees a platform to speak freely.

Gallup provides 12 questions to ask your employees. Gallup Access uses these questions as the most powerful predictors of employee engagement.

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job right.

These first two questions are about the basic needs of your employee. If these two questions are not a resounding “YES” then there needs to be some serious adjusting to satisfy the first tier in the hierarchy of engagement.

  • At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  • In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  • There is someone at work who encourages my development

These next three questions are about the individual. These show how the individual feels about him or herself and their role within the company. These are key for showing how you’re doing on employee appreciation.

  • At work, my opinions seem to count.
  • The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  • My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  • I have a best friend at work.
company culture

This group of questions evaluates the teamwork aspect of your company and how this individual feels in relation to the team as a whole. These questions are key for employee retention.

  1. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  2. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

These last two questions focus on growth opportunities for the individual. How they answer these gives you insight into how they may feel about their future with the company.

These 12 questions can be a great place to start measuring employee retention, employee appreciation, and engagement within your organization. Once you have the information, it’s time to implement some strategies to increase employee retention and stop wasting time and money on disengaged employees. Discuss options with your team and implement a plan to make real changes.

  • Be Transparent. Don’t take the data and just keep it closely guarded so no one sees. Make both the good and the bad transparent and clear. This is an important part of authenticity and inclusion.
  • Make a plan. Use small groups to decide on 1-3 actionable items to make a difference and improve the company culture.
  • Increase Accountability. Check in with your team to see how things are going and share what you’ve been doing. See if it’s making a difference by connecting with your team regularly.
  • Make great goals. It’s important for everyone in the company to know what they are working towards and how they can contribute. Recognize top performers and those who are noticeably improving. Show employee appreciation all along the way for day-to-day tasks.

People are social creatures, and it only increases when we aren’t happen. People are likely to share a good experience with three people, but will share a bad one with 10 or more. If they hate their job, everyone in their circle will hear about it and your company suffers as a result.

By allowing disengaged employees to continue working for you, you risk losing engaged employees and put your entire company at risk. Make the changes in your company culture to transform your team, and distance yourself from those who are unwilling to connect with your vision.


How Culture and Collaboration Can Increase Employee Engagement