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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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What are the causes & nature of employee disengagement?


According to Gallup, just 13% of employees are engaged at work. Increasing this number and finding out what makes people engagement at work is therefore high on HR's priority list. But the first step is really understanding workplace disengagement and the factors that causally contribute to poor perceptions and experiences in the workplace.

These reports, articles, blogs and insights, gathered from leading organisations, will help you better understand within your organisation the processes, structures and cultural nuances that are contributing to disengagement among your staff.

    Report: Employee Engagement 2011: beyond the numbers [PDF]

    Blessing White, 2011

    Key findings include:

    • Engagement surveys without visible follow-up action may actually decrease engagement levels
    • Trust in executives can have more than twice the impact on engagement levels than trust in immediate managers
    • Engaged employees plan to stay for what they give; the disengaged stay for what they get

    Report: Powering your bottom line through employee engagement [PDF]

    UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, 2013

    Key findings include:

    • Employee disengagement in the US costs the economy $370bn a year
    • Disengaged employees costs organizations $3,400 a year for every $10,000 in salary
    • Turnover, which often follows long-term disengagement, costs organisations between 48% and 61% of an employee’s annual salary

    Report: The 11 Leading Causes of Disengagement [PDF]

    USP Business Development, 2011

    The 11 leading causes are:

    1. Job expectations unmet [from initial recruitment]
    2. Job expectations unmet [from business change]
    3. Inadequate resources
    4. Misuse of talent [underutilisation]
    5. Misuse of talent [overutilisation]
    6. Poor individual appraisal/assessment
    7. Lack of advancement opportunities
    8. Lack of recognition
    9. Poor work/life balance
    10. Poor environment [office hostilities]
    11. Poor line management [no drive or direction]

    Report: The greatness gap: The state of employee disengagement

    Achievers, 2015

    Key insights include:

    • 51% of respondents (North American employees) are not happy at work
    • 40% know their company's vision
    • 57% are not motivated by their company's mission
    • 45% trust their company's leadership

    Report: Control, Opportunity & Leadership: A Study of Employee Engagement in the Canadian Workplace

    Psychometrics, 2011

    Key insights include:

    • 69% said engagement was a problem in their organisation
    • 80.3% said engagement was a problem from Government sector, 54.2% in not-for-profit
    • 29% said the most common result of disengagement was 'dysfunctional work relationships'

    Article: How can we solve the employee disengagement problem?

    Fast Company, 2013

    Key insights include:

    • "Most people come to work well intentioned and only turn sour when their basic needs aren’t being met."
    • "What we call engagement is a very personal state that depends on people’s willingness to bring who they are more fully into their workplace."
    • "We may keep reinforcing a system that deprives employees of proper credit for their own capacity for self-management and independent problem-solving."

    Article: Are your employees disengaged? Six classic warning signs

    Chartered Management Institute, 2015

    Key insights include:

    • Disillusioned employees often show 'lone wolf' syndrome after withdrawing from organisational and team life
    • A lack of energy or normal enthusiasm can also be a sign of disengagement
    • Drops in output quality or quantity can point to disengagement although can be due to an unrelated personal issue

    Article: The Seven Warning Signs of Employee Disengagement

    Ruth K. Ross, 2015

    The Seven Signs include:

    • "I don't care" attitude
    • Lack of creativity or input
    • Isolating behaviours
    • Declining quality of work
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    Jamie Lawrence

    Insights Director

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