The impact of widespread disengaged within a workforce can often be felt upon entering an office, shop floor or manufacturing plant. But beyond a general bad vibe, how does disengagement impact critical factors that contribute towards organisational success?

Numerous studies have highlighted how wide-scale the issue of disengaged is globally, with Gallup, in particular, showing that just 15% of employees are actively engaged with their work. A paper from Aon also suggests that 35% of workers are not engaged with their work – or their workplace. 

Disengagement goes beyond being unhappy at work, unsatisfied or bored. Actively disengaged staff can openly say negative things on a day to day basis to colleagues and will make little effort towards to collective goals of the company. 

And as noted above, there are some key organisational success factors for which a lack of engagement in a workforce can have serious negative consequences.

High staff turnover

Employee recognition has the biggest impact when it comes to increasing and also sustaining employee engagement, so it’s, therefore, no surprise that the primary reason staff say they’ve quit their job is because they don’t feel recognised. Employees who don’t feel appreciated for their efforts and go more than a year without receiving any recognition for their efforts are highly likely to grow increasingly disengaged with their job and the organisation they work for. 

Reduced productivity

A study by the Hay Group found that employee disengaged can cut productivity almost in half (45%). And that’s no surprise. Staff who are just turning up to get a paycheque and putting in just the required amount of effort (as well as likely simultaneously searching the job boards in their lunch hours) are unlikely to be going the extra mile and putting in discretionary effort during the working day. 

Poor customer service

Your employees are most likely the first point of contact with customers. But a disengaged employee could be your last contact with them. With seven in 10 employees having direct contact with customers, the lack of care, motivation and discretionary effort that happen due to a lack of engagement can really harm customer satisfaction. 


Whilst some absenteeism is expected in any business (and in fact a lack of it can suggest a serious presenteeism issue), disengaged employees are far more likely to be using up their full allotment (or max out what they can get away with) of sick days. In fact, studies suggest disengaged staff take more than twice as many sick days as their engaged colleagues.

Increased errors

The lack of care and focus that comes from disengaged has been found to result in more mistakes being made. In fact, studies have shown that disengaged employees make 100 times more errors than engaged colleagues. For most companies, that means more time needed to fix mistakes and potentially missed deadlines. For sectors where health and safety are paramount, the outcomes could be even worse. 

Take steps to improve engagement levels in your organisation

Understanding the negative outcomes that disengagement can cause is one thing, creating a working environment and culture where engagement is commonplace is another issue entirely. Problems with engagement can start right at the very first interview by hiring great workers who may not be a culture fit, or perhaps a less than perfect onboarding process. Change, bad bosses and an existing toxic culture will also affect how invested your employees are over time. 

What strategies or new initiatives has your organisation put in place to look to improve engagement levels amongst your workforce? Let me know in the comments below! 

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.