Disengaged employees are harming productivity in the workplace. They cost employers billions in lost revenue and hiring expenses (since they’re also more likely to quit their jobs). Not to mention their work tends to be lower quality than that of engaged workers.
But disengaged employees most likely aren’t trying to commit a sneaky sabotage or get back at “The Man.” Often, disengaged behavior is a defense mechanism for employees who feel demoralized by a lack of fulfillment in the workplace.
Social and economic theory expert Richard Florida conducted a study in which he found that employees most want challenge, responsibility, flexibility, and a stable work environment from their careers—in that order. Employees who lack these things often feel unappreciated or unsafe. This sparks their natural instinct to protect themselves by taking their minds off the depressing matter of their work.
Disengaged employees can often be found playing games, chatting, or surfing the internet—lighthearted things that act as a “pick-me-up.” These distractions are a way of bringing positivity into what they perceive as a negative environment.
So, what can employers learn from this?
First, employee disengagement is one epidemic that money can’t cure—because money isn’t what employees want. That’s why employers have to learn what employees really want from their work and what causes them to feel unmotivated. There’s no way to fix a problem without first diagnosing the roots.
Second, employers need to take responsibility for the culture of their workplace. Company leaders have the power to motivate employees by creating a positive, safe work environment. These motivated employees become engaged employees.
To kickstart your program, Company Folders created this awesome employee engagement guide. Read on to find out what your employees are really doing at work, why they’re doing it, and how you can motivate them to reconnect.