By James Harris
Toronto, Ontario — December 21, 2018 — Why do productive people leave organizations? For many employers, the assumption is that it is for money, better benefits or more vacation time. This is a misconception.
In reality, people who leave organizations for other ones can expect to earn about four percent more pay, and a similarly marginal improvement to their level of benefits.
If not for pay, benefits or vacation days, why then, do some employees leave organizations?
The answer is simple. The most common reason people leave one workplace for another is because of workplace culture and the working environment. They also leave when the workplace becomes inconsistent with their values.
They leave because they do not want to work alongside people who do not share their commitment to their work. An engaged employee wants to work alongside other engaged employees. So what is employee disengagement?
Well, if an engaged employee is entirely focused on their work, a disengaged one is someone who feels uncommitted to their role.
Beyond 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 affect 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.
Needless to say, with the high cost of turnover, which can be determined by costs required for the employee’s recruitment and 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 four 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 unique 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 affect 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.