3 Reasons Why “Actively Disengaged” Employees are Scarier than Halloween

October 31, 2017
| ByMike Ryan

Halloween is here. That means spooky and creepy things rule the day. All in the “spirit” of good clean fun, of course.

But, I’ll tell you what isn’t fun and is scary. The damaging impact actively disengaged employees can have on your business.

According to Gallup, there are three ways to define an employee’s level of commitment (or lack thereof). Workers are either: engaged, not engaged, or actively disengaged.

Here are 3 reasons why they are scarier than the scariest of Holidays.

1/ They are hard to spot.

Unlike trick or treaters who are easy to spot in their crazy costumes, actively disengaged workers blend in with the rest of your employees. They could be anybody. In fact, they come in all age groups and genders.

That’s one reason why they’re so scary. You can’t spot them. So how do you know who they are? Actively disengaged workers are the most damaging employees in the workplace. They are unhappy and let that unhappiness show in their words, attitudes and actions. They undermine the performance of others by constantly voicing their displeasure and soliciting others to join in their misery.

2/ They cost more, a lot more.

Halloween is not a terribly expensive affair. The average household spends a little over $86 on candy, decorations, costumes and parties. For those of you keeping score, that’s somewhere between what we spend on St. Patrick’s Day and Super Bowl Sunday.

Actively disengaged employees can cost more, a lot more; up to 34% of their salary. Do the math here. That means for everyone who makes say $60,000 a year, their employers are losing $20,400 annually by having them on the payroll. Chronic absenteeism, a lack of enthusiasm (and the low productivity that follows) along with their penchant for demotivating others and disenfranchising customers all play a factor. When you consider that 24% of employees worldwide are "actively disengaged," it’s easy to see how those losses can add up.

3/ Their effect lingers on.

Halloween is a once a year treat (or trick). The worst thing that can happen is a tummy ache from too much candy. The negative effects from actively disengaged employees, however, go on and on until properly addressed.

Actively disengaged employees siphon off time and resources. They distract and demotivate other employees; they take time away from their managers (who must address their conduct) and along the way they contribute negatively to quality issues. All of that discontent doesn’t stop at the door either. Customers sense and respond to unhappy employees, usually by walking away and never coming back. Simply put, actively disengaged employees create self-inflicted problems that would not otherwise exist for your business.

But not every horror story has a scary ending. When it comes to turning the actively disengaged around, there is hope. Remember, employees don’t start out that way. They become actively disengaged because they have not felt valued or appreciated over time. Recognizing their contributions and encouraging their development can help remedy the situation. In fact, it’s been known to win them over.


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