Engaged employee

Re-engaging the Disengaged Employee

27 June 2023

An unengaged employee may never have felt loyalty to a business, doing their job and nothing more. A disengaged employee was once engaged with and passionate about their role and employer. Read on to learn how to re-engage your disengaged employees to boost motivation, loyalty, and retention.

What impact does disengagement have on your business?


The disengaged employee may still perform their role, but the engaged employee will strive for more.


According to a Gallup Survey, businesses with a highly engaged workforce will benefit from 21% greater profitability and 59% less employee turnover. Furthermore, disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism rates, and absenteeism costs the UK economy £14 billion annually.


This highlights three ways that a business will suffer financially because of disengagement:


  • Increased absenteeism

  • Lower levels of productivity and innovation

  • Increased and more frequent spending on recruiting new talent.


External influences


We’ve established the financial implications of employee disengagement. Now, to address the causes.

While common themes and situations can lead to an employee becoming disengaged, you can’t apply a ‘one-fits-all’ approach when we're speaking about people. There will often be more going on than an employer may be aware of, which is why you should nurture a culture of openness and communication.


An employees' mental health 


Poor mental wellbeing and health, whether caused by personal reasons, excess workplace stress or occupational burnout, can reduce an employee's level of motivation by 18%.


We’ve come through a pandemic and walked straight into a cost-of-living crisis. It’s a stressful climate, so now, more than ever, the reasons for employee disengagement may not be due to their job or the business at all.


Even if disengagement is caused by personal issues – mental, physical, or financial – it will impact your business. It's essential to get to the root of the problem, taking the necessary steps to support and re-engage employees.


Internal factors leading to disengagement


We’ve established that there are external influences that may lead to employee disengagement; now to discuss the common workplace factors that can lead to employee dissatisfaction and loss of motivation.


Poor management and communication 


Managers must be effective leaders, empathetic listeners, and good communicators. They also need to have broad shoulders, often bearing the brunt of and shielding their team members from negativity.


It’s a tall order, so they must be well-trained and supported. 


A manager’s role is to lead their team and get the best from them, and that involves an element of buffering so that those they’re responsible for can get on with their work, free from the wider business politics. When a manager cannot do this and allows their team to feel their frustrations, or worse, uses them to vent, it could cost them the respect of that team.


Do you ever hear the phrase, ‘I don’t get paid enough to deal with this’ spoken within your organisation? 


That’s a disengaged employee in the making. It’s a person who feels like they’re getting the raw end of a deal or experiencing a situation they’re not trained to handle.


Upskilling your managers and making them resilient will positively impact them and their entire team.


Lack of developmental opportunities 


The engaged employee is hungry for career progression, training, and development opportunities. If a business doesn’t commit to its employees’ future, can we really expect employees to commit wholeheartedly to the business?


In a survey that included Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials70% of employees said that training and development opportunities were a factor in their decision to leave or accept a role.


Development doesn’t always mean promotion since those opportunities may not present themselves frequently – the goal is to retain talent, after all. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn't offer progression opportunities, and businesses should look to add as many strings to the bows of their employees as possible through internal and external learning and mentoring opportunities.


When you invest in your employees’ skills, they feel a sense of achievement, and this is a big engagement booster.


Insufficient reward & recognition


Good performance needs to be rewarded if you want it to be repeated. In Maslow, Herzberg, and Pink’s Motivational Theories in the Workplace, recognition is clearly defined as a motivational driver.


Employees need more than a pat on the back.


Reward must follow the recognition for it to be meaningful and the behaviour reinforced. Businesses that expect their people to always go above and beyond without reward may initially see the results they desire. However, this will change over time as motivation decreases and employees become disengaged.


Lack of camaraderie


We touched on how the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have impacted mental health. However, one good thing to come from the current climate is that most businesses recognise their role in supporting their employees and doing what they can to ease their financial burden.


There’s a mentality of ‘being in it together’, but it also makes sense to support employees' mental, physical, and financial wellbeing. Boosting employee resilience will lead to better engagement and performance, which will only ever benefit the employer.


That said, one in 10 employers do not believe it’s their remit to support employee wellbeing. Unfortunately, these businesses are planting the seeds of disengagement, and they’ll likely experience the implications in the future.

It’s an employee-driven market, and at least 45% of employed people are actively looking for a new role.


Re-engaging the disengaged employee with Pluxee UK


With over 60 years of experience and award-winning, cost-effective employee benefits to offer, Pluxee UK can help you build a sustainable wellbeing strategy to re-engage disengaged employees.


Contact one of our friendly wellbeing and engagement experts today and take positive steps to re-engage the disengaged employee whilst providing meaningful support to all your people.