How to Identify Disengaged Employees?

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According to a report released by Gallup, about 70 percent of employees in the US are having a negative impact on economic growth because of failure to realize their full potential. Among these employees, 52 percent are not engaged and almost 18 percent are actively disengaged. Those who are actively disengaged cost about $500 billion in productivity loss nationwide every year.

Employee disengagement is a problem that is experienced by almost every company, and it can have a devastating effect on productivity if left unattended. As a business owner, one of the first steps you need to take to get the most out of your employees is identifying disengaged employees. While having a dedicated HR department that utilizes the best human resources management software is helpful, here are a number of signs to look for.

Lack of Initiative

Employees who lack initiative may not necessarily undermine the overall productivity of your company. They can be good workers with good work ethics, but they are just not engaged enough to want to realize their full potential and contribute more to your business. These employees are more difficult to spot because they can blend in nicely with other employees. Basically, employees who mostly do only what they are told to do fall into this category.

Negative Activities

The group of employees that poses the biggest threat to your company culture and productivity are those who indulge in activities that can have a negative effect on your business. These activities can range from bad habits such as taking long breaks to counter-cultural activities such as spreading gossips and inspiring dissent towards management.

Lack of Interest in Learning

According to an infographic about disengaged employees, only 40% of the workforce understand company goals and the strategies of their organization. This can be a big concern if you want to build a unified culture that is focused on your business goals. Employees who are disinterested in learning are less likely to want to grow in their roles, and they can slow the growth of your business.


While it is true that some employees need their own space in order to be productive, they can be wet blankets that dampen team spirit and enthusiasm. For instance, it can be a problem when a team or the whole company is celebrating a win and a few employees show no sign of excitement at all.

Once you have identified the disengaged employees in your company, you can take a number of measures to create a more engaged workforce, such as giving compliments, offering rewards and career advancement opportunities, and letting certain employees go if you must.