Why do productive people leave organizations? Is it for money, better benefits or more vacation time? Would it be a shock to learn that the vast majority of productive people leaving organizations are not going for any of those reasons? In reality, people who leave organizations are only earning about 4 percent more pay, and the level of benefit improvements is marginal. Moreover, when we talk about engaged or disengaged, we refer to the difference between those individuals focused 100 percent on the workplace and those that are not wholly focused on workplace activities.

Here are some revealing facts resulting from recent Canadian surveys:

  • Only 16 percent of employees are actively engaged in the workplace.
  • Disengaged employees make up about 84 percent of our workforce.
  • Of that 84 percent, approximately 14 percent are thoroughly “checked out. “
  • It is 16 percent, the fully engaged employees, who leave the workplace.

Why then, do they go? The answer is simple. They leave because of the workplace culture and the working environment. They also leave when the workplace becomes inconsistent with their values Needless to say, with the high cost of turnover, which can be determined by costs required for the employee’s recruitment & selection, their number of years of service, and the level of experience, the expense to businesses can range between 30 -150 percent of an employee’s annual salary. Therefore, it can be much more cost effective to work with an external expert on providing solid solutions, as most consultants will gladly create customized proposals, amounting to a fraction of the cost of turnover.

My role as a consultant is to listen to an owner or manager’s concerns, trying to understand what they have observed regarding what an employee is doing or not doing. The answers to the following 4 questions provide me with a template for making recommendations:

  1. Does the employee understand what you have asked them to do?
  2. Does the employee have the right tools and equipment for the job?
  3. Does the employee have the ability to perform the work?
  4. Is the employee deliberately choosing not to perform the work?

Understandably, since time and money have been invested in employees by the time a business owner or manager calls me, it usually concerns a specific disengaged employee. In most cases, they want to help an employee whom they feel is not pulling their weight and avoid losing productive employees as a collateral effect of having disengaged employees. The bottom line is that disengaged employees come at a high cost.

An employee engagement specialist, like myself, would be able to provide the appropriate training for those managing disengaged staff or those managing staff who are exhibiting performance issues, along with providing them with the tools required to establish a better working environment.

I once supervised two people each of whom had their own different work styles. One was hard working and took pride in producing output whereas the other was less dedicated, delivering the minimum amount of work and at times, less than the minimum; finding creative ways to avoid work such as extended lunches, frequent bathroom breaks, conversations with other co-workers and telephone calls unrelated to the work activity.

Beyond these productivity issues, disengagement leads to workplace conflict, poor communication, safety concerns, turnovers, and absenteeism. Issues involving disengaged employees and business owners/managers have an adverse effect on others working in an organization creating a toxic environment where even your best performers become caught up in the situation, causing them to eventually leave.

In conclusion, through coaching, organizations have the opportunity to create a culture where all employees are valued, increase productivity, reduce errors, and create an environment where everyone is committed to overall goals and objectives.