The Drawbacks Of Low Employee Engagement

The Drawbacks Of Low Employee Engagement

Over the past couple of years, there been an ongoing debate about employee engagement. What is it all about and how important is it?

Employee engagement is the degree of an employee’s emotional connection with his or her employer or organization that determines the individual’s contribution towards his work. The more the emotional connection, the greater the likelihood of his making an “extra mile contribution” to the organization.

Today, the most critical question facing organizations is the exact correlation between employee motivation and productivity. According to a survey conducted by Akron’s Centre for Organizational Research, low engaged employees tend to characterize the following:

  • Dissatisfaction: Low engaged employees tend to be highly dissatisfied with their jobs.
  • Employee Attrition: One can expect high level of employee attrition. Employees tend to hop jobs as soon as an alternative opportunity is at hand.
  • Tolerance: Employees’ ability to handle or tolerate economic uncertainty is minimal.
  • Inconsistency: Employees are unable to bring a high level of loyalty, creativeness and energy to their jobs.
  • Goodwill: Employee goodwill is low both at the work and when they are away from work. In turn, it disallows employees to promote goodwill within and towards the organization.

Impact of Low Engaged Employees on an Organization:

  • The organization lose its top talent: During economic hardship, investing in employee engagement is like repairing the roof before a big whirlwind hits it. So, if an employer neglects employee engagement, he will taste the whirlwind of a smart and top talented employee exodus as soon as there are signs of economy improvement.
  • Negative Impact on Organizational Success: Looking into employee engagement as a strategy is not only essential for organizational success but vital for long-term organizational viability. So, if there is low employee engagement, it is likely to have a negative impact on organizational success.

During the past successive economic downturn, managers had the most difficult task of handling their workforce’s spirits and productivity. To solve this matter, managers of an organization must be able to build a culture where respective employee feels valued and can take decisions.

So, to build a higher level of employee engagement, organizational leaders should come together to set a clear direction for an organization. On this pathway, open communication with honesty, expectation and corporate goals as well personal goals need to be shared between employees and their leaders. This helps to overcome low employee engagement within the organization.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

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  • Great article. Engagement is a two way line. It is no use the employer looking to engage an apathetic Workforce. So your attraction strategies in terms of talent as an employer need to bring in people that are aligned from a value system to the company point of view. Without a vision and an engaged workforce, the company falls prey to the demands of the industry and your service levels will not attract new business or retention of existing. There is always the chance that having layoffs or retrenchment can help staff be more engaged in the organization.

  • VEry interesting and informative… thanks

  • Really gives a quick insight what can happen with low engaged employees. Thank you for this informative posting.

  • Tilak

    It’s more realistic way of representation.

  • Asma:

    Hope this is not confusing or confounding the issue but I think engagement is becoming the way of working, or working with each other, and is more than “the degree of an employee’s emotional connection with his or her employer or organization that determines the individual’s contribution towards his work.”

    I like what you said overall and I would go even further.

    When you stated: “to build a higher level of employee engagement, organizational leaders should come together to set a clear direction for an organization. ” I agreed and would add that employees need to have a role in contributing to that direction to. To be a bit trite here, the only way to get everyone on the same page is to give them the opportunity to write on that page or to paraphrase a line from the field of positive deviancy, “never do anything about me without me.”

    Thanks for the post.


  • Jacqueline M. Walters

    Low engage employees produces work in sufficient quantities to stay employable. This group can be salvage, to high productively engaged employees. The disengaged and disenchanted employees quit and stay on the job, until the employer defuses the employees disengagement process. This group can lead the organization on a fast track to failure.

  • Amanda Boonzaaier

    Thank you for your short and concise article on the impact of low Employee Engagement. A topic of interest to me as we are actively involved with driving a culture of engagement and participation in our organisation. Such a lot of “feeling engaged” depends on the environment a leader creates. We spend a lot of effort to help our leaders understand their role and function in this process. A lot of hard work still required – though we now have full top management commitment; an ingredient that, if it is missing, will render all our other efforts useless… I believe we do/ experience what is modeled for us. When our leaders model and honour an engaged culture, our staff responds very positively.

  • Asma,
    Thank you for bringing this subject up. It only covers a small part of the issue though and I will expand on that.

    You bring up a good point as to have the employees part of the planning to ensure a better buy in. This is still a small part of the issue.

    Looking at the issue on a grander scale.

    Low employee engagement can be caused by a number of reasons; the employee, the manager, the senior manager, the C-level managers, the company itself, a bully boss.

    Most of employee low engagement is caused by the leadership of the company focusing more on the power of the position than the benefits of the company. Thee is still too much “my way or the highway” attitude being perpetuated. So how do you determine at what level is this happening. One has to observe all the employees. Are the employees in one department happier and harder working than another department? Then look into the management of the low work department. The more low engaged employees the higher up the command chain one needs to look until you get to the top.

    One needs to look at the working atmosphere of the company. Is it an open communication style of work or is it a power and stifle style? Is everyone free to being up ideas with out ridicule or ramifications or is there a fear or why bother attitude?
    IS there a level of employee empowerment to make decisions they are capable of making to free up managers time to concentrate on larger issues?
    Do the managers engage with the employees on a regular basis? Jack Welch understood the power of this while at GE when he would enter a factory and go to the lowest line worker and ask him, “so how am I doing?”. Jack knew that if that employee wasn’t happy then he was doing something wrong at the top.

    Is there a spirit of collaboration among everyone in the company?

    If it is just one or two employees has anyone taken the effort to talk to them to find out what is wrong or do you blow it off as a bad seed? It may be that the job has outgrown the employee and they need training or it could be that the job changed and the employee no longer enjoys the work. IF the employee was a good employee before that then see if you can find him a job in the organization better suited to what they like to do. Why throw away a good employee for something you caused because I am sure you changed the job without any input from the employee.

    Bully bosses:
    This should be a whole subject in itself but it is part of this so lets cover it.
    This is the most detrimental occurance in any company. The hidden cost to the company far exceeds any profit that they bring in from having a boss that gets the job done. It is costing you in high employee turn over rate. It is costing you in company reputation as a place not to work as you do not value your employees. It is about management not willing to admit to the mistake they made by hiring or promoting a bully boss. It is about the effect on the health of those who have to work for them. The loss of production form employees being out sick and low work output due to stress. The cost of poor quality from the mistakes employees make due to stress. Yes the cost are detrimental to a company but companies seem to overlook it. This is not only hypocritical because profit is king but it is bad business practice period.

    I could delve into this even deeper but there is not enough room and time here. I hope this has brought more enlightenment to the issue. Someone as knowledgeable as I can continue this.

  • Employee engagement is essential in very organization, it leads to retention of employee and and good productivity in the organization. This is very helpful to my study. Thank you

  • Employee engagement is the degree of an employee’s emotional connection with his or her employer or organization that determines the individual’s contribution towards his work.There are many keys mentioned in this blog to make employee satisfaction.