Dear Employer: Here’s Why My Disengagement Is About You, Not Me!

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Your employees are happy, right? They couldn’t possibly be looking for a new job.

Think again.

According to Gallup, 70 percent of workers in the U.S. are either not engaged or are actively disengaged with their job.

That’s a big hit to productivity. Now let’s add in the true cost to replace an employee – 1.5 times their annual salary on average.

The math doesn’t lie

You do the math:

The # of disengaged employees x 1.5 the average annual salary = What it’s going to cost you to ignore your people!

That’s a lot of dough, and a lot of dough you could use to invest in your business, to give your people the tools they need to succeed to be engaged, or to innovate and grow, and it’s not including the institutional knowledge they take with them.

But it still can’t be you, right? It must be them.

Think again.

Why employees are unhappy and not engaged

Here are three (3) reasons it’s you (the business) and not them (the employees.)

1. Your customers think you suck.

If this is so, your employees probably think you suck as well.

If you don’t have customers coming back, referring you to their friends or family, or not giving you an “A” in customer service, it’s you, or at least partly you.

Sure, one could argue the employees are the ones providing the customer service so if the customers aren’t happy it must be because the employees suck. But if employees are providing poor customer service, the likely reason why is because the employees are unhappy or disengaged – toxic culture, poor leadership, bad training, poorly designed incentives, crappy processes, the list goes on.

The truth is happy employees try to give 100 percent. When they give 100 percent, they try to solve customer problems, enhance the customer experience, and keep happy customers coming back.

2. You lack new ideas

Innovation helps make new ideas a reality. If you have the same problems with your business model and no one on your team is trying to generate new ideas or find ways to solve problems,  it’s you.

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The truth is happy employees bring new ideas to the table. They try to avoid making you lose to the competition.

Yes, happy employees want to see your business succeed.

3. Your office has no buzz

If you don’t hear collaboration, it’s you.

The truth is happy employees want to collaborate and strategize for success. Sure, some are more comfortable just delivering on tasks, however, everyone has an opinion.

If they’re not sharing their opinions and discussing how they can support the overall mission of the organization, they may not know what you’re mission is and how they fit in, and if so, that’s you and not them.

Happy employees are connected employees and connected employees want to see the business they feel part of succeed.

Understand the true cost involved

The good news is that this is all fixable. As to the reason why you’re experiencing these issues, well, it depends on your business and your situation.

How you enable innovation, provide service, attract and retain the right talent, harness technology — I could go on — will go a long way to how productive and profitable you are in 2015.

Here’s the moral of the story: Make sure you understand the true cost of ignoring your people. It can cost you more than you think.

This was originally published on the Tolero Think Tank blog.

Scott Span, MSOD, is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions, an Organization Improvement & Strategy firm. He helps clients in achieving success through people, creating organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable -- organizations where people enjoy working and customers enjoy doing business. 

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