disengaged employees

Disengaged Employees: The Cost Of Unmotivated Workers

Your employees are key to the success of your business, and in other news the sky is blue.

Employee engagement has been linked with everything from increased productivity and profitability, to better customer service and less staff turnover. So it’s no surprise that businesses are always looking for ways to increase employee engagement.

But what about those employees who just don’t seem to care? The ones who show up late, do the bare minimum to get by, or worse  –  actively sabotage your business?

Disengaged employees can be a massive drain on company resources, and their impacts can lead to your business struggling to remain profitable and even to close its doors.

So how much do disengaged employees really cost businesses? In this article, we will discuss the cost of unmotivated workers, how to deal with them effectively, and finally discuss some last resorts when dealing with disengaged employees.

Let’s get started!

money with pen disengaged employees

The True Cost Of Disengaged Employees

It’s no secret that disengaged employees can have a negative impact on your business.

But just how much of a toll do they take on the success of your business and on your other employees? Here are 5 ways disengaged employees can wreak havoc on the success of your business.

1. Productivity

Unmotivated employees are often unproductive employees. It’s no secret that employees who don’t care about their work or their company are less likely to go above and beyond or put in the extra effort required to get the job done.

This lack of productivity can have a knock-on effect on other employees who have to pick up the slack and could have their own productivity affected as a result.

Imagine a situation where one disengaged employee is supposed to be working on a project with another employee. The disengaged employee doesn’t do their part, and the other employee has to work twice as hard to make up for it.

This can lead to office culture worsening and a decrease in morale for the other employees involved.

2. Customer service

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, and they deserve the best possible service. Disengaged employees often provide poor customer service which is reflected most clearly when there are problems or complaints.

Customers who have a bad experience are much less likely to come back, and they may even tell others about their negative experience. This can lead to a loss of business and reputational damage that could be difficult to recover from.

3. Turnover

When employees are disengaged, they are more likely to leave your company in search of greener pastures. This high turnover rate can be costly for businesses, as it takes time and money to train new employees.

Not to mention, a high turnover rate can make it difficult to maintain a consistent level of quality in your product or service.

With employees coming and going, customers may not always receive the same level of service, and this can lead to further reputational damage.

4. Morale

A disengaged employee can have a negative impact on the morale of your whole team. When someone isn’t doing their part or is actively sabotage your business, it can bring down the morale of everyone else who is trying to do their best.

A lack of morale can lead to decreased productivity and an overall negative work environment. In some cases, it can even lead to employees leaving your company in search of a better work environment.

5. Profitability

In the end, all of these factors can have a serious impact on your bottom line. Disengaged employees cost businesses money in terms of productivity, customer service, turnover, and morale. All of these factors can lead to decreased profits and even business closures.

sales chart disengaged employees

How To Deal With Disengaged Employees Effectively

So now that we’ve gone over some of the ways disengaged employees can cost your business, let’s take a look at some tips on how to deal with them effectively in the workplace:

Talk to them

It may seem obvious, but one of the best things you can do when you notice an employee is disengaged is to talk to them about it.

This can be a difficult conversation to have, but it’s important to find out what the root cause of their disengagement is.

Are they unhappy with their job? Do they feel like they’re not being given enough responsibility? Once you know what the problem is, you can start working on a solution.

Encourage them to take on new responsibilities

One of the main reasons employees become disengaged is because they feel like they’re not being challenged at work.

If you can give them more responsibility and allow them to take on new challenges, you may find that their engagement levels increase. They might start to feel like their work is actually making a difference, and that’s a powerful motivator.

Help them see the bigger picture

Sometimes, employees become disengaged because they can’t see how their work fits into the larger picture of your business.

If you can help them understand how their role contributes to your company’s overall success, they may start to care more about their job and be more engaged in their work.

Being a part of something larger can make the disengaged employee feel like they’re at home and be far more comfortable.

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Recognize their achievements

Everyone likes to be recognized for their hard work, and employees are no different. If you make an effort to recognize your employees’ achievements, you may find that they become more engaged in their work.

A simple “thank you” can go a long way towards making someone feel appreciated, and it might just be enough to turn a disengaged employee into a motivated one.

Offer incentives

Sometimes, all it takes to get an employee engaged is a little incentive. If you offer employees rewards for meeting certain goals or objectives, you may find that they start to care more about their work and are more motivated to do a good job.

Just be sure not to overdo it, as too many incentives can create a feeling of entitlement among employees and actually lead to less engagement.

Disengaged employees can be a major cost to businesses, but there are ways to deal with them effectively.

By taking the time to understand the root cause of their disengagement and implementing some of the tips above, you can start to turn things around and get your employees back on track.

teamwork disengaged employees

Disengaged Employees: The Last Resort

Sometimes even if you take all the necessary steps to deal with disengaged employees, you are left with little choice but to let them go.

If an employee is actively sabotaging your business or putting others in danger, then termination may be the only option available to you.

Before taking this step, it is important to make sure that you have documented all previous attempts to improve the situation and that you have a solid plan in place for how to move forward without this employee. Otherwise, you may find yourself facing legal action for wrongful dismissal.

How To Dismiss Disengaged Employees Correctly

Dismissing an employee is an often arduous task for even the most senior of managers, and approaching this conversation is a sensitive topic for everyone involved.

Since dismissals prove to be very difficult, here are a few keys to deal with dismissing disengaged employees in the most effective way possible.

Take it slow

It is important to remember that this is a process. You cannot simply walk up to an employee and say “you’re fired”.

In order to avoid any potential legal issues, it is best to consult with your HR department and follow their procedures exactly so you cannot be held legally liable.

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Be honest

Most people can see through corporate buzzwords, so it is important to be honest with your employees about why they are being let go.

This doesn’t mean that you have to air all of your dirty laundry in front of them, but you should at least give them a general idea as to why their position is being eliminated.

Not only will this help them to understand the decision, but it may also help them to accept it and move on.

Avoid using “I”

One of the most crucial things to remember when terminating an employee is to avoid using the word “I”.

For example, instead of saying “I think it would be best if you left”, try something like “Given the current situation, do you think it would be best if you resign?”

This simple change in language can make a big difference in how the employee perceives the situation and can help to avoid any potential confrontations.

Have a plan

Having a clear plan in place is a must when employees are let go. This includes having someone lined up to take over their responsibilities, as well as making sure that all of their personal belongings are taken care of.

The last thing you want is for the situation to turn into a messy legal battle because you didn’t have everything in order.

Be respectful

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is important to remember to be respectful when you are terminating an employee.

Even if they were the worst employee you ever had, they are still a human being and deserve to be treated as such. Avoid using any inflammatory language or making any personal attacks, as this will only make the situation worse.

Dismissing an employee is never an easy task, but it is sometimes necessary in order to protect your business. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible and that you avoid any potential legal issues.

meeting about disengaged employees

Final Thoughts

Disengaged employees can be a massive drain on company resources, and their impacts can lead to your business struggling to remain profitable.

Now that we’ve understood the costs of disengaged employees and gone through how to address these as effectively as possible, we know exactly what to do when faced with this uncomfortable situation.

However this isn’t a perfect world, and even if you’ve attempted to improve the situation, sometimes you are left with no choice but to let them go. Whatever choice you make, take your time and remain patient — it will help you more than you know!