Problems of Disengagement

When employees are engaged, they adopt the vision, values and purpose of the organization they work for. They become passionate contributors, innovating problem solvers and stunning colleagues. But what does it mean to be a disengaged employee? Well, disengaged employees are “not poised to put in extra effort for success. They don’t like going to work most days. They are unlikely to recommend the products of, or employment with, their employer.”

It may be difficult for employers to pinpoint disengaged employees because they don't necessarily create problems in the workplace and they generally do their jobs. Still, disengagement can spread throughout the workplace as even talented employees find their work uninteresting and see no room for advancing their careers.

Signs of Employee Disengagement

Let us now discuss regarding the most significant signs of Employee Disengagement in most of the companies.

No Initiative

An employee may feel disconnected from your organization, but might still perform because of a personal work ethic. Or maybe their job is too easy and they are not being challenged. Don’t be fooled that everything is okay simply because the person is producing results. Instead, look how motivated the person is in a different context.

No Initiative

Stage a voluntary hack-day for the company. Make it fun and offer great prizes. Does your top performer choose not to participate? If there are no other matters taking up their time, you may have a disengaged employee.

Unhealthy Activities

How often does an employee go to the break room for a coffee or a snack? How often do they head out for a cigarette? Of course, your employee may just be hungry, tired or addicted to nicotine, but sometimes people over-indulge in unhealthy behaviors to fill a void in their personal or professional lives.

People who are truly motivated by purpose often derive fulfillment simply by working diligently at their desks. They may even have to be reminded by a grumbling belly that they haven’t eaten lunch yet.


Ok maybe you just have an introvert on your hands. Some people feel their batteries recharge when they have their own space. But, when the entire company or specific teams are experiencing a win and a select few show no excitement or celebration, that is an engagement issue.

Lack of Learning

When is the last time that a quiet employee shared an article of interest about your company, marketplace trends or an interesting research dealing with their role? When is the last time they shared anything at all? Curiosity is a good sign that an employee cares about the bigger picture. They want to learn and grow in their role and share that with others. When you encourage learning and growth as a company value and employees don’t share your enthusiasm, it is time to take a closer look.

Cost of a Disengaged Workforce

Let us look at the cost of a disengaged workforce to better understand the significance of employee engagement. The engaged employees believe they can contribute to the company’s growth, the disengaged employees believe otherwise, i.e. their job does not contribute to the organization. This belief of the disengaged employee creates a negative spiral that affects his work, co-workers, customers, productivity and eventually both happiness of the employee and company performance.

Some of the significant effects are explained below −

  • Effect on Work − The disengaged employee tries to evade work, struggles to meet deadlines and is reluctant to accept additional responsibility.

  • Effect on Co-Workers − The negativity of a disengaged employee, demonstrated either through raves and rants or complete withdrawal from participation, affects the team morale. After all who has not heard of the proverb - One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.

  • Effect on Customers − Every employee, whether an organization likes it or not, becomes its ambassador. And a disengaged employee either by actively de-selling the organization, or by complete apathy towards their work, product, process, organization help create disengaged customers.

Effects on Customers
  • Effects on Productivity − Disengaged employees seldom push themselves to meet organizational goals let alone contribute to innovative practices at workplace. Since, they do not believe that their work contributes to the organization; they evade completing tasks thereby affecting team productivity.

  • Effect on Company Performance − In the corporate world, time is money and organizations must innovate to stay relevant. A disengaged workforce by the virtue of delay in completion of tasks and inability to improvise and innovate costs the company dollars which ultimately affects the bottom line.

Last but not the least, disengagement can have a very detrimental effect on the personal life of an employee. A disengaged employee is seldom able to shake off the lethargy and perform in the current organization or land a job of preference. This leads to increased frustration which may ultimately affect personal and family life.