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The Ripple Effect of Disengaged Employees

Managers love having engaged employees around.  They exude positive energy, are passionate, creative, and energetic.  One can rest easy knowing the job will not only be done, but be done well by an employee who’s engaged.  But company culture is made up of all employees- the engaged and the disengaged. The elephant in the room, and the topic most companies fail to address and improve on is the issue of disengaged employees and the negative effect it has on the entire organization. 

A recent Gallup State of the American Workplace Report indicated a disturbing trend: nearly 70% of employees were not actively engaged in their work.  Quantum Workplace surveyed 75,000 employees across the U.S. and discovered that within the healthcare industry, you’ll find some of the most disengaged employees in the nation.  Specifically, after profiling 17 industries, healthcare ended up in last place for engagement.  What does this mean in terms of money?  According to an ADP study, approximately $2,246 per disengaged employee.  The total economic impact is an alarming $450 billion to $550 billion in the U.S., per year (Paycom).

It is obvious that disengaged employees have a direct and negative impact on your business’ bottom line.  There are a number of reasons disengagement is costly:

  • Bad customer service and poor patient outcomes, which are detrimental to employers in a Value-Based-Payment (VBP) reimbursement model
  • Increased turnover rates and high vacancy numbers, which result in huge financial costs for healthcare organizations
  • Poor access to quality healthcare for the local community, which negatively impacts local economic growth

Disengagement is bad enough, but did you know there are 20 million employees (making up approximately 18% of the American workforce) that are actively disengaged?  Actively disengaged employees are those that are not just unhappy at work – they act out on that unhappiness and undermine the productivity of otherwise engaged employees (tolmanandwiker.com).  

Actively disengaged employees cause disruption and dissatisfaction within the company.  Even actively engaged employees can experience decreased morale if the overall team’s level of engagement falters.  Just a few actively disengaged employees can have an immense negative effect on the entire workplace.

The healthcare industry has reached epidemic levels of disengagement, resulting in organizations struggling with issues such as absenteeism, poor attrition rates, loss of productivity, and business disruption. Unless the situation improves, the negative side effects of disengagement could have far more serious consequences for the healthcare industry, given that successful patient care outcomes are dependent on the engagement level of employees.

You may be wondering if there is any silver lining in all of this.  Luckily, there is. The beautiful and essential answer to this colossal disengagement issue is technology.  According to Health IT Outcomes, technology can solve the healthcare industry’s employee engagement crisis.  Technology can help improve the employee experience, all while reviving employee engagement.  An immediately actionable technology solution for healthcare employers is to deploy an integrated engagement platform, which allows for the large proportion of remote and frontline healthcare employees—as well as traveling staff—to remain solidly engaged in the organization (healthitoutcomes.com).

For healthcare organizations, medical staffing is only as successful as their ability to engage and retain the best healthcare professionals. To achieve this end, organizations must be consistently vigilant of their employees’ needs and develop talent carefully to keep employees engaged and committed to their job.  By deploying a digital workforce experience platform, companies can engage their workforce with experiences that truly matter to them. The result is the opposite effect of what disengaged employees cause:

  • Improved customer service and patient outcomes
  • Decreased turnover rates and vacancy numbers
  • Improved access to quality healthcare

Addressing disengagement protects your company culture and ensures that your engaged employees stay engaged, creating satisfied customers and enhancing your bottom line (Infosurv Research).  Employee engagement is a goal that should receive the attention – and intention – of all managers and leaders. Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Does your organization have the strategy needed to thrive?


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