What Does a Disengaged Employee Cost Your Organization?
Cheryl Chester
March 19, 2019

Did you know that a disengaged employee costs the average organization $3,400 per $10,000 of annual salary?

Even during a time in business when all expenses are under intense scrutiny, how can companies not address the cost of disengaged workers? We’ve all heard the recent research that less than 30% of today’s workforce is actively engaged, yet few organizations have embraced these results as an opportunity to move the needle higher on engagement. We also know that employee disengagement costs American companies $450-550 Billion annually. So, let me share recent research on engagement that certainly adds support to strengthening it within your organization. Organizations with higher engagement levels:*

  • Have a 24% lower turnover rate
  • Post total shareholder returns 22% higher than average
  • Report 2 times the annual net income
  • Have 2.5 times higher revenue growth

Why Employee Engagement Matters, Gallup, 2018
State of the American Workplace, 2018

These statistics are glaring and leave little choice but for an organization to begin focusing on engagement. Following is a list of no to low cost ideas for getting started:

  • Giving employees the opportunity to use their strengths in their work.
    One of the key retention factors for Millennials is their opportunity for continuous development of their strengths and skill set.
  • Encouraging employees to question the status quo.
    One of the benefits of the Millennial workforce is their interest in getting involved in decision making, even if not directly related to their current work. They have opinions and they want to be heard.
  • Creating challenging work.
    Provide work opportunities for employees to work on special projects and to become involved in organization-wide committees; anything to widen the scope of their daily work!
  • Encouraging employee voices, especially their dissenting views.
    Create focus groups in which employees can provide their feedback as to ways to further strengthen engagement levels and to create a stronger employee-focused culture.
  • Administering an Employee Engagement Survey.
    While launching an Employee Engagement Survey does require some costs, it is a great starting point for employers who want to really move the needle on engagement. Many will begin by conducting an Employee Engagement Survey and that is a good start. However, often these survey results are either not shared with employees or are shared with no plans for follow-up. If you are not committed to addressing the results, don’t launch a survey!

I have worked with several companies in implementing an Employee Engagement Suite that begins with a Survey and ends with employee groups working to further enhance current engagement practices and to mitigate practices eroding employee engagement. Having employees involved in creating higher levels of engagement promotes a very high level of commitment!

All of these approaches have minimal costs and begin to position the engaged employee as the focus of business success. Clearly, this supports what all the engagement data reflects. In the war for talent, engagement is the key!

Cheryl Chester

Cheryl Chester


With 25+ years HR experience, Cheryl's focus includes leadership development, OD, performance management, employee engagement, and succession planning.


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KardasLarson is a human resources and business consulting firm that maximizes employee performance so people and organizations prosper.



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