Unengaged Workers Translate Into Lost Business

Nearly one out of two employees are not acting in ways that create positive customer experiences.

May 29, 2004

High costs of turnover can often be traced to a lack of engagement by employees. Unengaged workers not only are more likely to leave than those who are fully engaged, but they may be passing on a lack of enthusiasm to clients and sales prospects, which can kill business.

    In an effort to get at the problem, the Performance Assessment Network interviewed nearly 2,600 employees working for companies with at least 50 employees in its 2004 national workforce engagement assessment. It found that slightly more than half of today’s workers are fully engaged, meaning they have a strong personal attachment to their organization and will work in ways that create and enhance customer loyalty. But that means nearly one out of two employees are not acting in ways that create positive customer experiences.

    Here is a snapshot of the research:

  • 46 percent of employees are fully engaged.

  • 23 percent of employees are partially engaged, meaning they exhibit some characteristics that are beneficial to a company in the short term.

  • 31 percent of employees are unengaged, meaning they are not providing positive customer experiences and are halfway out the door.

    Other findings in the survey indicated that slightly more than half of all employees can be counted on to "stay longer, work harder, and recommend the company as a good place to work," according to the report.

    The authors say that with the cost of replacing workers ranging from six to 18 months of salary, it is essential for CEOs to understand what drives workforce engagement and employee tenure. And, as products and services offered by companies become harder to differentiate, the authors also note that the importance of customer service and after-sales care and support becomes ever more critical to the bottom line.