Best Employee Surveys

5 Surprising Statistics About Disengaged Employees

From time to time, people ask us what the best leadership style is to promote better employee engagement. Unfortunately, there isn't a cut and dry answer to that question.

Recently, we have seen some astonishing facts and figures popping up relating to the impact of disengaged employees. Some of the statistics are alarming, some are encouraging, but hopefully, you will find them all to be interesting and informative.

Let’s begin our look at some illuminating numbers.

startup business, software developer working on desktop  computer at modern office.jpeg

1. Disengagement Costs Between $450 and $500 Billion Annually 

The estimated annual cost of employee disengagement to the US economy is between $450 and $500 billion.1 On a micro level, McLean & Company has estimated that an individual disengaged employee can cost a company up to $3,400 per year for every $10,000 of salary.

The flip side of the coin is that companies with engaged employees tend to perform much better. According to research prepared for the U.K. government, companies with a highly engaged workforce enjoyed a 19.2% growth in annual operating income. Companies with lower engagement scores had an operating income that was 32.7% lower than those with higher scores.2

It’s also estimated that companies in the highest quartile of employee engagement enjoy 17% better productivity and 20% higher sales than those in the lower quartile.3


2. Sixty-seven percent of Employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged 

According to Gallup’s recently released State Of The American Workplace report4 for 2017, only 33% are engaged. Furthermore, the findings indicate that 51% are not engaged and have not been for quite some time.

What could low engagement levels mean to your organization? According to the report, if your company is within the lowest 25% in engagement, you could see 69% higher absenteeism rates, 39% more shrinkage and a more than twice as many safety incidents than a company within the highest 25% range of employee engagement.


3.Eight-five percent of Employees Are Either Actively Looking or Open to New Employment Opportunities5 

Fifty-six percent (56%) of employed Americans believe that now is a good time to find a quality job.6 Additionally, 1 in 3 employees is planning to make a move within the next 12 months.7 That’s not good news for turnover and retention rates.

It also seems that it wouldn’t take too much of an incentive to make a less engaged employee leave his or her job. 69% of disengaged employees would leave for as little as a 5% increase in pay. On the other hand, a 20% increase is necessary to attract an engaged employee.8

And while more pay may provide the impetus to make a move, money is not always the most important factor that brings them to make that decision. In the book The Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, author Leigh Branham states that 89% of employers believe their employees leave for more money, but only 12% actually do. In fact, the leading reason for an employee’s departure is his or her boss.


4. Sixty percent of Employees Describe the Ability to Do What They Do Best as Very Important9

Offering a glimpse of what matters most to employees when it comes to considering employment elsewhere, the Gallup report ranks this as the attribute that had the greatest importance. A better work-life balance was next at 53%, followed by greater job security and stability with 51%, and a significantly higher income at 41%.


5. Sixty-nine percent of HR Professionals Recognize that Employee Engagement Is a Problem10

Business leaders know that disengaged employees represent an important issue. 90% of companies agree that there is a significant impact of disengaged employees on their success, yet only 25% have an engagement strategy or plan.11 This may help to explain why disengaged employee statistics have not changed significantly over the last few years. Those stagnant engagement rates also suggest that it isn’t a problem that fixes itself without an action plan for improving it.

While all these facts and figures offer a view of disengaged employees and the state of the workforce at large, the specifics of what’s happening within the microcosm of your own organization may be significantly different.

Without a strategic approach to evaluating employee engagement within your company, that includes an employee survey as well as a plan to recognize and address issues uncovered, your organization could be at risk of experiencing the far-reaching repercussions of a disengaged workforce.

If you would like to learn more about how to use our robust employee survey process to determine the state of your own workforce, schedule time to speak with one of our employer coaches.

Schedule a Call



[1] Source:

[2] Source:

[3] Source:

[4] Source:

[5] Source:

[6] Source:

[7] Source:

[8] Source:

[9] Source:

[10] Source:

[11] Source:

Tags: Employee Engagement, Leadership and Planning, disengaged employees, data

Best Employee Surveys
With nearly 15 years of experience and collected data, Best Employee Surveys administers recognized survey tools and delivers comprehensive reporting you can trust. Our customizable options ensure that your organization is capturing data in the most effective way for your reporting needs. Because we survey nearly 6,000 companies and their 800,000+ employees each year, you can feel good about using our extensive database as a comparative benchmark for your results; it is of the highest quality and is also used to support trending analyses and ongoing research performed by a number of scholars, authors, and presenters worldwide.
No Comment