A survey from Gallup has shown that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. It also revealed that of the remaining employees worldwide, the majority, 63% are not engaged or lack motivation, while 24% describe themselves as “actively disengaged”.
Why do Employees become Disengaged?
There are of course many reasons behind the high levels of employee disengagement; sometimes it comes from the way the organisation is managed, and sometimes from the employees themselves. The main reasons listed for disengagement among employees include problems with their employers or other workers, stress factors outside of work and depression or anxiety, created either at work or outside. But increasingly we hear that lack of personal development is deciding factor.
In terms of management and the top three causes, employees report most often that they disengage because they don’t consider that their efforts are rewarded adequately or they might begin to think that their job is a waste of their talents, and their efforts could be better rewarded somewhere else; secondly they just feel overwhelmed by the workload and thirdly, the role within the company does not offer them enough of challenge. Personal development is both reward and challenge.
Some of the potential remedies employees seek are that employers take the effort to listen to them, leaving them more motivated to perform, and for managers to trust them more.
The Cost of Disengagement
Disengaged employees are costly to organisations for many reasons. First of all, high levels of disengagement will affect productivity, and the survey conducted by Gallup shows disengaged employees are more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression.
Moreover, disengagement among employees is thought to cost the workplace billions every year. Low morale among workers means they are likely to take more time off work, and they may be less effective at dealing with customers or clients, which can also prove costly.
There are measures that we can all take to motivate employees and re-engage them, though this requires leadership.
- create an environment where employees feel they are getting adequate support at work and that if not, they can come to you about it
- if employees are overwhelmed by the sheer workload, they should be able to talk to you about it, after all it may just be a case of refocusing the individual on what's important and what isn't
- create an environment where staff feel they are listened to; being able to share their ideas, even if you have to explain that an idea may not be possible, is still motivating because you have shown that sharing their idea had value in itself
- recognise extra effort so the employees feel their hard work has been worthwhile; many companies have incentive programmes for this, but often it is just being recognised that is really needed
- eliminate incentives where team members have to compete against each other to give their best performance, as this is an extremely effective way of demotivating employees
- provide opportunities for personal development and challenge to attract, engage and retain your staff
- identify possible ways to alleviate the effects of their concerns outside of work and where possible, make temporary adjustments