What is the impact of poor employee engagement?

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What does an organization have to lose by having low levels of employee engagement? After all, it is not the sole reason for why organizations continue to keep running. However, while it might not be the sole reason why organizations continue to run, it does play a big role in keeping organizations running smoothly.

In order to better understand employee engagement, one must first understand what it is to be engaged.

An engaged employee is someone who is active within the organization, not just in terms of showing up every day, but being visibly seen and recognized for the work and effort that they do. On the other hand, disengaged employees are employees who may be present physically, but mentally, they might be elsewhere. 

The number of engaged employees within an organization can determine how vibrant and successful an organization is. While the number of disengaged employees in an organization can highlight serious workplace dysfunction, poor work culture or possibly even a lack of clarity when it comes to roles and skills.

But before we get into fixing poor employee engagement, let us take a look at what employee disengagement does to other employees. Because employees are not an island. The emotions and actions of other employees can and do have an impact on them. The seriousness of it might differ from person to person, but it is worth keeping this proverb in mind, one rotten apple can quickly spoil the bunch.

Decreases Morale & Disrupts Workplace Harmony

Nobody is immune to bad vibes or workplace dysfunction. It's not always possible to drown out employees who might drop by to chat and instead end up launching into a litany of complaints. Nor is it possible to stop engaging with people simply cause they are disengaged. What can one do if the person who is disengaged happens to be their team-mate or manager? The advice to avoid interacting with them is simply not feasible. Discontentment eventually leaks over and even if one chooses to drown out all the disengagement around them, the office eventually becomes a very uncomfortable place to be in.

Engaged employees can make an organization hum. Disengaged employees can throw a spanner in the works. When the harmony in a workplace is disrupted, an employee’s output and productivity can drastically decrease. Employees cannot focus on the work at hand and that in turn has an effect on an organization’s overall productivity.

When employee engagement gets ignored, employees who are adjacently affected will continue to work until they can no longer manage, and then they will move on. It's wrong to expect employees to keep adjusting to the quirks of others when no attempt is being made to fix it.

The Organization Stagnates

Engaged employees are constantly innovating and comping up with new ways for the company to move ahead. Disengaged employees do the exact opposite. They are completely cut off from their’s organization’s values and objectives and have nothing if the value to offer. When there are no new ideas or innovations on the horizon, an organization stagnates and falls behind. It might be worth noting that not all employees start off as disengaged. In fact, some of them might have even been rockstar employees before. However, along the way, something changed. Perhaps they are unhappy with the way the organization is developing. Or maybe they feel like they are not valued like they were before. It is important to discern the reasons for poor employee engagement before taking precautionary wide-sweeping measures. 

Increased Costs, Reduced Returns

This is a side-effect of organization stagnation and disrupted workplaces. Disengaged employees are costly. Not only do they tend to be a drain on a company’s time and resources, but they might also be responsible for driving away other engaged employees. Attrition does cost organizations money. Because significant costs are incurred every time you hire an employee, train them and get them on board, only for them to leave because the organization culture wasn't palatable to them. Or because they found it difficult to work with employees who are obstructive or unenthusiastic. Unlike engaged employees who are invested in not only their careers but even the well-being of the company, disengaged employees do not care. They have no interest in the company and they are content to put in the least possible effort, therefore seriously impacting an organization’s performance.

Employee Engagement Software Can Help

Really good employee engagement software can take what is already there and enhance it even further. It is important to note that employee engagement software is highly successful when a workplace has a culture that actively fosters employee participation, employee satisfaction, and employee engagement. It is not a cure-all for an organization that is already suffering from poor levels of employee engagement. In fact, once an organization overhauls its practices regarding engagement and motivation, employee engagement software can be tapped into to sustain the momentum.

Benefits of Employee Engagement Software

With employee engagement software, in addition to employees participating in the day to day activities of an organization, peer recognition is also possible. Having a peer thank you for the information you provided, a creative solution, or handling a problem he or she was struggling with is also a great way to build engagement and see the company as “ours” to improve rather than as a place to go to work.

Such software also makes it easier for managers to give and receive feedback and recognize employees publicly, an act is which is effective at bolstering employee engagement.

Employees can also log in to their own personal account to receive and provide feedback, recognition or even browse training programs to find the ones they want to take.

In conclusion, employee engagement software can really help improve workplace climate, but only if the organization in question has a culture of employee engagement or is working towards creating a culture of engagement and wants to improve it.

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