Employee disengagement: Signs, cost, and solutions

Employee disengagement? That’s a horror word for employers and definitely one they would not associate with their organization, no matter how many employees come and exit their doors in short succession.

Disengagement sounds closely like disenchantment and is probably the root cause of disengagement. The  combined causes could be many, sometimes the employee may not even recognize them, but the clue is how they feel every morning when setting out to work - Is it childish anticipation or what? Or what….?

Here are what the experts tell us about disenchanted employees. Before that, there was an actual case of a new employee walking into the lunchroom of an establishment to hear a small troupe of fellow employees tittering softly … “wonder how long she will last….!” It was a serious question posed by them to each other. Not quite a comment to fuel enthusiasm in a person and the new entrant almost threw in the towel when she met the crusty employer and later saw the piles of unfinished jobs left by short term past incumbents to the seat, until the fighting spirit in her rose up.  She lasted a full nine years and had the “crusty” employer practically “eating off her palm”. How did this employee get herself “engaged” in the face of an unusual situation of facing a tiresome job? Was it the management style? In this case, yes – seeing the ground scenario, in despair, her manager gave her autonomy and even consulted her. He had no other option!

Signs of impending employee disengagement:


Lack of awareness of the overall vision and goal of the organization.

Short vision of their slot in the big picture


Every employee from the lowest rung up should have a thorough grounding in the vision, mission and  values of the organization they belong to. In an organization where even the chauffeurs were  expected to be aware of such information, it was found that it inculcated a better sense of  belonging.

Lack of interpersonal communication with co-workers


Some ultra smart organizations have walls between employees or worse, employee facing blank  walls inside little cubicles. Such set-ups discourage human interaction. This could leave employees  more like zombies at the end of the day. It has been found that where humans are allowed to  interact at levels that, of course, do not hamper efficiency, they are happier.

Lack of autonomy in the job


Here’s the job, but it is more like one that just generates a paycheck at the end of the month. It is  not a whole job with responsibility and authority. No one wants your ideas. No one seems to know  what you do, nor appreciate it. The job has become mechanical. It comes to a point when you  can’t  recognize whether it is yesterday, today or tomorrow and the sameness is quietly killing you.  Real  life studies show that when employees are challenged, when the bar is raised, they do rise to  the  challenge.

Low opportunities for group interaction


Thriving organizations are known to provide many opportunities for group interaction. One such  organization had little tea parties in any of the Directors lawns. Mingling with the Directors gave  the  employees something to talk about and also broke the monotony of the routine.  

Lack of Transparency, Trust


Employers may consciously or unconsciously make promises that they fall back on. Even a little  breach of trust is sufficient for a drop in motivation leading to a drop in respect for the entity  leading  to a drop in personal productivity that affects the end result. You really need to respect  your superior  and your organization to remain enchanted.


It is common knowledge that employee turnover is a cost to the organization in more ways than the farewell party. A turnover is followed by the recruitment process which is costly and time-consuming.  Familiarization and competency in the job are not an overnight process, and that too eats into corporate time and funds. Tons of studies have been done on the subject, and the general consensus is that nearly 80% of employees and managers alike are not passionate about their work, and that up to 50% of work disturbances come from – you guessed it – social media. Furthermore, companies that have low engagement scores earn approximately 30% less than companies with energized employees.

The prelude to turnover is its symptoms - absence, sick leave, accident rates, grievances, conflicts and low productivity. We may all be guilty of one of these at one time or another. Disillusioned employees have a way of creating disillusion in others in a ripple effect that is extremely detrimental to the business. Before sending off the errant employee as quickly as possible, the organization would need to determine where the malady rests and address that area at the individual manager level and board level. Here’s where BQu can help with their specialist operational support that helps draw out the statistics you need in any area that needs attention. Our business support services cover practically every aspect. So if what you need is to reduce inefficiencies and drive revenues there is nothing quite like getting to the bottom of the matter.

Created: March 29th, 2016  


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