3 Types of Employees: How to Spot the Silent Killer

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unplugged and tired businessman After polling more than 25 million Americans within hundreds of organizations, the 2013 State of the American Workplace Report  conducted by Gallup has developed interesting findings regarding employee engagement. The results have led Gallup to determine three types of employee engagement levelengaged, disengaged and actively disengagedbut what does this all mean? Well, here’s a quick breakdown of Gallup’s report to get us started!

1. Engaged Employees -“Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.”

2. Disengaged Employees -“Not engaged employees are essentially ‘checked out.’ They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time — but not energy or passion — into their work.”

3. Actively Disengaged Employees – “Actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.”

Of the 100 million people in the U.S. workforce…

  • Only 30 percent of U.S. workers are engaged and inspired at work.
  • 20 percent of U.S. workers are actively disengaged.
  • 50 perent of U.S. workers are present, but not engaged or inspired within their workplace.

Meaning that “70% of U.S. workers are either disengaged or actively disengaged within their organization.”

An actively disengaged employee may:

        • Monopolize manager’s time
        • Call in sick more often and have more work-related accidents
        • Contribute to “shrinkage” (office supplies, product, etc.)

A disengaged employee may:

        • Kill time and/or are “checked out”
        • Show little or no concern for the success of the organization
        • Revolve their day around breaks

Actively disengaged employees tend to hold a grudge toward the company. They go out of their way to disrupt operations or can even act out subconsciously. It’s the veteran employee who lost the promotion to the new guy; it’s the employee who justifies using the company card for a personal purchase because she feels undervalued. These actively disengaged employees who count for 20 percent of the workforce are costly to companies.

“Active disengagement costs U.S. employers an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually.”

Which is worse?

The Gallup report brings awareness to the increasing concern for disengaged employees overall, but what should employers and HR specialists really be watching out for? Gallup seems to focus on how damaging actively disengaged employees are; however, I believe that the disengaged employee causes the most damage to an organization. I mean after all, disengaged employees account for half of the American workforce polled. In my opinion, these disengaged employees are like “silent killers” (yes, just like your flatulent co-worker)! You may not be able to see or hear a disengaged employee, but his/her lack of effort and energy is sure to produce some stink within your organization.

So, Whodunnit?

How do you spot a disengaged silent killer? Well, it’s not that easy; you’re not a mind reader, and I don’t expect you to be. These silent killers do everything they are supposed to do. They show up to work and do the bare minimum of what is expected of them. BUT that is it! They don’t contribute any further to your organization because they aren’t inspired or motivated to do so.

In order to spot the silent killers in your office, take a good look around. It’s the employee who is last to arrive and first to leave. Chances are if the person isn’t exceeding your expectations, innovating new methods and solutions for organizational problems, or completely being a pain in your behind, he or she is probably just a plain ol’ disengaged employee! This doesn’t mean that the worker doesn’t have the potential or isn’t capable of being highly successful within your company; it just means that something needs to change.

Change is Coming…

The change that needs to come is within the organizational operations. Because employers can’t completely spot these silent killers, they have to find ways to promote employee engagement throughout their entire workforce. It’s like spraying air freshener. The freshener isn’t just aimed at a specific employee that you assume the stink is coming from; it permeates throughout the entire room and is an encompassing solution for one or many small, stinky problems.

Need Some Fresh Air?

Stay tuned for our first-ever blog series on employee engagement including:

  • TIPS – What are the best ways to promote employee engagement?
  • INSIGHT – What is the relationship between engagement and company growth?
  • TRICKS – How do top employers motivate their workforce?
  • ANALYSIS – Are workplace perks and benefits actually increasing engagement?
  • TRENDS – How does allowing employees to work remotely increase engagement?

Follow our employee engagement series to get a quick, up-to-date look at how you can increase productivity, profitability and overall morale in your workforce!

By Shaley McKeever