Don’t Overestimate Your Level of Engagement: Building Employee Engagement (Part 2)

Building Employee EngagementIn our last video we looked that what employee engagement is and why it matters.  And there we learned that an engaged employee is someone who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, and will act in a way that furthers the best interests of the organization.  Wouldn’t it be great to have an entire workforce that looked like that?  Unfortunately, the ratio of engaged employees to unengaged employees in your organization is likely not in your favor.

The reality is, unless you’ve actively put measures in place to build employee engagement, then you can expect only about a third of your workforce to be what we would call engaged employees.  These are your high contributors, your high performers, who have a strong commitment and actively look for ways to do the job more effectively.  They are here for the long haul and they’re not likely to leave the company anytime soon.  Engaged employees make up right around 31% of your workforce.

The second category is what we would call unengaged employees.  These are medium contributors.  They are medium performers who have a moderate commitment, and who put in a moderate effort.  And within this group there is significant variation in intent to leave.  Some are actively pursuing other opportunities as we speak.  Others are ambivalent but may take another opportunity if it presents itself.  But none of them are committed enough to stay out of sheer loyalty.

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That has significant ramifications for employee retention.  To replace an employee who leaves the organization due to lack of engagement can cost the  organization up to ten times that employee’s annual salary in terms of loss of talent, increase in down time, loss of productivity, cost of training and ramp-up of a replacement, and other hidden costs.  Losing even one seasoned employee should never be a manager’s first choice.  Compound that with the fact that this category, with its varying degrees of intent to leave the organization, makes up roughly half of your workforce. If only half in this category are thinking about leaving the organization, that represents a significant risk for employee turnover.

Finally, the third category is what we call the disengaged.  These are low contributors, poor performers, who have a minimal commitment and put in minimal effort in their jobs.  They make up nearly 20% of your workforce and are four times as likely to leave as any other employee.  Now, as poor performers who are disengaged, the fact that they’re likely to leave is not the bad news.  The bad news is, they’re still here!  And we’ll need to do something about that as we look at ways to build a culture of engagement.

But that’s it for this edition of the Support EDGE. Until next time, be sure all your development initiatives are performance-driven and outcomes-based.


Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is principal and lead consultant of SCInc., a learning and development consulting company. Eric has over 20 years experience in creating and executing results-oriented, outcomes-based learning and development initiatives aligned to corporate goals. He specializes in leadership development and coaching, and leading organizational culture-change initiatives around customer support and safety leadership. Eric was personally involved in the development of certification standards, performance standards, exam validation, competency models and training for the customer-support and technical-support industry, and was instrumental in the creation of the only performance-based certification in that industry.

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