According to the 2010-2012 State of the American Workplace conducted by Gallup, 70% of workers in the U.S. are disengaged at their current job. That’s a pretty alarming statistic that should serve as an eye-opener to the 28 million small businesses throughout the country.
Gallup researchers found that 52% of workers were “not engaged,” 18% were “actively disengaged,” and only 30% were “engaged.” Gallup has been tracking engagement along with other business-related statistics for well over a decade. The first engagement poll conducted by the market analysis company was done in 2000 – a time when employee engagement was much higher than current levels.
A disengaged workforce can negatively impact a company in several different ways, some of which includes the following:
- Poor customer service.
- Lower quality of products and/or services.
- Loss of trust between employees and the employer.
- Higher employee turnover rate.
- Lower productivity.
- Lower morale among workers.
- Increased risk of job-related illness and injury.
Gallup defines actively disengaged employees as “employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.” Not-engaged employees, on the other hand, are “essentially checked out. They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time – but not energy or passion – into their work.”
So, what steps can employers take to promote a higher level of engagement amongst workers? First and foremost, the employer should identify the root cause of the problem. One of the most common reasons why workers are disengaged is because they aren’t recognized by their peers. By implementing a performance reward system, such as an employee-of-the-month program, workers will feel more appreciated and acknowledged for their hard work; thus, encouraging a higher level of engagement.
Every company – big and small – should have an employee appreciation system in place. It’s an otherwise simple concept that can make a world of difference in worker morale and engagement. If you still haven’t taken the plunge into setting up an appreciation program, set aside the necessary time and resources to get one up and running.
But employers shouldn’t limit themselves to only recognizing workers on a once-per-month basis. Recognition and appreciation can implemented each and every day to create a more engaged workforce. Stopping in the hallway to tell workers thanks goes a long ways in boosting morale and increasing engagement.