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What Is Employee Disengagement Really Costing Your Brand?

Luke Kreitner
5/29/24 10:30 AM

Disengagement isn’t just a lazy day every few months that can be fixed with a fresh start on Monday. Employee Disengagement is a significant issue that can affect even the biggest and strongest companies and cause profound consequences that can lead to a lack of employee retention and constant turnover. According to a Gallup survey, disengaged employees cost U.S. companies $450 billion to $550 billion annually in lost productivity. To proactively avoid this, you must understand the root cause of employee disengagement. 

Some factors you should be aware of can include:

  • Lack of Recognition
  • Poor Leadership
  • Limited Growth Opportunities
  • No Work-Life Balance

Signs of Employee Disengagement

  • Lack of Productivity 

    Suppose you begin to notice that your usually active and hardworking employees aren’t producing the same quality of work. In that case, they will likely lose interest in their work. When you don’t care about the work that you are doing, you aren’t as motivated to produce work that meets a high standard. Another sign of disengagement is not only the quality of their work but also if they aren’t meeting deadlines that they would have easily met in the past. Gallup reported that disengaged employees were 18% less productive than their more engaged peers. Take the time to sit with your employees and voice these concerns and see if other factors are playing into this lack of productivity. It can be encouraging to know that your team wants to help you get re-engaged and produce your best work.

  • Lack of Innovation
    Similar to a lack of productivity, not seeing any innovations can be a big sign of disengagement. People go through creative lows or can experience burnout, but you don’t want it to get to the point where they are completely checked out. If you begin to notice your team is using previous ideas and slightly changing them or aren’t looking to the trends to see what is boosting engagement, then you need to find ways to get them excited and feeling creative again.

  • Increase in Turnover
    It isn’t surprising that when an employee isn’t feeling motivated or challenged in their current role, they begin to look for other career opportunities. If you start to notice a higher turnover rate than average, it’s important to turn to your employees first and see what they have to say about the current workplace culture and what can be done to avoid any more turnover. When an employee leaves, it affects the team’s dynamic and structure, so you want to get ahead of this situation quickly. It’s crucial to find ways to re-engage employees before it gets to this stage.


  • Lower Customer Satisfaction
    Everything always gets back to the customers, so if the employees aren’t excited to promote the brand, then the customers will feel that. If the customer-facing employees are disengaged, then they are less likely to offer a positive and well-rounded experience to the customers, which can lead to a bad brand reputation. Having multiple negative interactions with customers leads to a domino effect that will end up affecting not just brand loyalty and reputation but also overall sales and revenue.


Employee Recognition’s Role In Employee Re-Engagement 

Whether brands are aware or not, employee recognition plays a huge role in creating a strong workplace culture that will, in turn, bring a positive experience to the customers. Offering a recognition program to your employees will significantly decrease your chances of having to deal with the risks that come with disengagement. Every employee wants to feel that their work is noticed and appreciated, and having a recognition program satisfies that need. Making your employees feel valued will lead to them being actively engaged, motivated, and committed to their work and your brand.

Take a look at some ways employee recognition fosters engagement:

  • Boosts Morale: An employee recognition program is an easy way to lift your employees' spirits while also fostering a positive work environment. Try to bring as much fun and enjoyment into your workplace, and your employees will be excited to get to work. High morale leads to a company culture of teamwork, and when you encourage this behavior, you are more likely to see it in all of your teams.
  • Enhances Job Satisfaction: Why would you want to be a brand that has employees who dread coming to work? Executives and managers should put in time and effort to make sure their employees are excited about their roles and responsibilities. When people love their job and feel like they are making a difference in the company, then they will see more success and growth as a whole.
  • Encourages Productivity: Getting that notification or shout-out that you excelled at a project or met a goal for the year is an amazing but also motivating feeling. When you know that other people have seen your hard work and are proud of what you have done, it pushes you to want to keep producing that standard of work.
  • Reduces Turnover: Valued employees are less likely to seek other job opportunities. If you know that you are being offered learning opportunities, rewards for your hard work, and acknowledgments from your team, then it is unlikely that you would want to go somewhere that you won’t receive that.

The true cost of disengagement is more than just a financial impact. It affects your team's productivity, dynamics, and employee satisfaction, but ultimately the long-term success of your brand. Get ahead of employee disengagement to ensure you are building a committed, innovative, and aligned workplace. Take the time to learn about your employees' preferences and recognize and show your appreciation for their hard work. It can be informal or formal, company-wide or a direct message, monetary or they can choose something from the rewards catalog. As long as it is sincere, timely, and relevant to their work, then they will be motivated to continue creating their best work.

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