Single Disengaged Worker Costs Company $4,621 in Lost Revenue in 2014

Looking to engage your workforce? Check out RevolutionHR’s Indiegogo Campaign called MaximusLife and help change employee productivity in YOUR workplace. 

Single Disengaged Worker Costs Company $4,621 in Lost Revenue in 2014 

I remember what it was like to work in a job I didn’t love. I counted the hours waiting for the day to be over while I spent my days planning and day dreaming my next job opportunity. Working as a professional blogger seemed like an unachievable dream so I spent hours surfing job boards while simultaneously updating my resume. Simply put I was a disengaged employee.

Employee Engagement Defined

Employee engagement is defined as an emergent property of the relationship between an organization and its employees. Simply put engaged employees are productive. They do their jobs. They are happy at work. In turn, other employees, peers and customers enjoy working and encountering these happy and engaged employees.

Disengaged employees on the other hand are employees who are unhappy, unproductive or have distanced themselves from the culture in which they work. However, a happy employee doesn’t always make for a productive and engaged employee.

Studies have found that employees are most productive and engaged in their first 6 months of work. These are also the most stressful, impressionable and most challenging times for your employee. Employees are excited to start fresh and learn their new job responsibilities at your company. It’s also a transitional time where we as managers and leaders lose valuable opportunities to share experiences and build relationships with those new employees. We tend to drop the ball helping these new employees transition because we are busy with reports, conference calls or whatever fire that needs our attention today. This too busy attitude ends up costing us down the road. Those same productive employees become disengaged. Maybe they fail to perform, or we are left with turnover and a team of overworked and underappreciated employees.

I could tell you that Gallup reports in their 2013 State of the Workplace report that unproductive and engaged workers are costing United States businesses $550 billion a year. $550 billion per year. To put that in better perspective, there are 119,000,000 full time employees employed in the US as of June of 2014. Disengaged and unproductivity is costing us $4,621 per full time working employee.

Cost of an Employee

Employee disengagement and unproductivity is one of the many costs employers encounter when it comes to their employees. For employers there are costs like salaries, wages, and Social Security and taxes. There are also hidden unrealized costs that most bosses don’t take into consideration for a single employee.

Unemployment Insurance


401(k) Matching

Training Expense

Workers Compensation Insurance & Claims

Mentoring Time

When it comes to employee disengagement and their eventual turnover, my belief is the failure lies squarely with the manager who was directly responsible for the employee. Most managers reach a point where the turnover is welcome. The employee has become a cancer and is someone they have avoided in favor of conference calls and boardroom meetings. I suggest trying a monetary incentive to turnover and employee disengagement. I suggest reducing the department budget by that same $4,621 (or more based on the cost of the above list) to off the set the cost of each employee lost or better yet adding an incentive or discentive directly to the manager’s salary. Suddenly, that the cost of workplace disengagement is real and is much more of a priority.

Looking to engage your workforce? Check out RevolutionHR’s Indiegogo Campaign called MaximusLife and help change employee productivity in YOUR workplace. 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Cathy Shanes says

    Every now and then we hear businesses complaining that their employees don’t seem to be engaged, and try to invent a new and creative solution to this problem, but too often we forget that the easiest and the most obvious solution usually turns out to be the best. Thus, success of any relationship, even professional relationship, depends on the degree of caring both sides show. You can always keep your employees engaged by really thinking and caring about them and their interests, feelings, don’t you?

  2. budraddin says

    so what if i have been engaging with meaningless meaningless tasks and i know it will add nothing to the whole job what should i do in this case?! to me itll disappoint me .



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