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Study Shows 70% of Your Employees Are “Checked-Out” At Work (and it’s costing you!)

by | Employee Engagement


Studies show that 70% of your employees are checked out at work… and it’s costing you!

Have you seen the 2013 Gallup State of the American Workplace Report? It’s one of the clearest reports yet on the vital importance of having an engaged workplace culture. Among the findings were these shocking numbers:

  • Employees who are disengaged: 70%
  • Employees who are engaged: 30%

Of the 70 percent of American employees who are disengaged, 20 percent are described as “actively disengaged”—they essentially hate their jobs. This leaves fewer than one in three employees to push the rope uphill with very little help from the rest. That’s a slow train wreck for American business—and an incredibly expensive one.

Here’s why. When Gallup researchers studied the differences in performance between work units with different levels of engagement, they found that those scoring in the top half on employee engagement nearly doubled their odds of on-the-job success compared with those in the bottom half. Doubled!

These numbers tell a clear story—the epidemic of disengagement translates directly to your P&L. Research by professional services powerhouse Towers Watson draws a direct line to your bottom line:

  • Average annual change in income for companies with highly engaged workforce: +19.2%
  • The average change for companies with low engagement scores: -32.7%

And an IES/Work Foundation Report put it in straightforward dollars and cents:

  • Increase in annual profits per employee for every 10 percent improvement in engagement: $2,400

That’s $2,400 per employee. If your company employs 100 people, and you bring engagement up just 10 percent overall, you stand to net an average of nearly a quarter-million dollars in additional profits each year.

Imagine how much would be available for raises and bonuses if that hole in the bottom of the bucket wasn’t creating the need for layoffs, payroll freezes, and travel freezes.

Executives are saying they’ve never had a tougher time finding good people to fill the slots that make their companies run. And once they do, if the disengagement and dysfunction are allowed to run wild in their workplace cultures, how long do you think it will be before those good people leave—or far worse, become disengaged and stay?

The solution is not a mystery. Culture is the leading predictor of growth and profitability, bar none. The best current research conclusively shows that investing in a positive, dynamic, engaged workplace culture provides a greater ROI and a more powerful impact on the bottom line than any other investment you can make. Nothing makes the needles jump faster or higher, and nothing else has the staying power of a genuine culture transformation.

Roxanne Emmerich


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