May 3, 2020 0 Comment

5 Signs of Disengaged Employees to be Watched

Recent research by Gallup has suggested that around 17.2% of the workforce within most organizations is actively disengaged. According to the findings of this research, the cost of every disengaged employee borne by the organization is equivalent to almost 34% of the employee’s salary. We have put together the 5 signs of disengaged employees to be watched by organizations to take a timely and effective intervention.

While most organizations today are focused on improving the engagement levels of their employees; they often choose to ignore their disengaged employees. This can have a major impact on the overall productivity and efficiency of the workforce besides causing a significant decline in the bottom line of the organization.

Understanding the Reasons for Disengagement

One of the key aspects of identifying disengaged employees is to understand the reasons that might have led to their disengagement. This makes it easier for organizations to identify the members of the workforce, most impacted by similar reasons resulting in their disengagement.

The reasons for disengagement can range from dissatisfaction with the compensation policies, career growth opportunities, rewards and recognition policies, learning and development opportunities, or even their supervisors.

Employees may also become disengaged due to the development of negative work culture or specific changes in HR policies that they consider unfair.

What are the Common Signs of Disengaged Employees?

Contrary to popular belief, disengaged employees might not necessarily be the least productive members of the workforce. In fact, in most cases, a large percentage of disengaged employees were once highly engaged employees.

Keeping the number of such employees in check is the only way for organizations to minimize their impact on business growth, goodwill, and productivity of the organization.

In this context, they need to keep an eye out for the most common signs of disengaged employees which are as follows:

1. A sustained drop in employee productivity

One of the key indicators of disengagement amongst the members of the workforce is a sudden decline in employee productivity. This can be in the form of the employees missing deadlines at work on a regular basis, a reduction in their efficiency and quality of output, or even an increasingly careless attitude towards their work.

However, before rushing to any conclusion, it is important for organizations to monitor these factors over a period of time as many times these occurrences are only temporary and often caused by different situations.

2. Withdrawal from organizational activities

Another important sign that organizations need to look out for is the social withdrawal symptoms in their employees. If a perfectly normal and social employee seems to have suddenly developed a preference for a quiet and withdrawn life at work, then there is something to really worry about.

Lesser participation of employees in various organizational activities or their lack of enthusiasm in new projects is a few of the signs of withdrawal. By adopting such an attitude, employees might actually be trying to convey their distress to their employers.

3. A gradual increase in absenteeism

When employees become disengaged, they simply prefer to stay away from work resulting in a higher absenteeism rate. Such employees generally tend to come up with a wide range of excuses to justify their absence from work.

These might include a sudden spurt in the sick leaves being availed by an otherwise seemingly healthy employee or even a significant rise in the number of emergency situations at home. It is important for organizations to keep track of and verify the reasons behind such a sudden rise in absenteeism, especially if the employee in question had been completely dedicated and committed to the job in the past.

4. Increase in workplace discord

If organizations see that the instances of discord at the workplace involving specific members of the workforce have risen consistently over a period of time, then they need to get to the root cause of this new.

Happy and engaged employees rarely lash out at or visibly express their anger towards their peers or even managers. So, if certain employees are exhibiting this kind of behavior on a regular basis, it is critical for organizations to try and understand what is driving such behavior.

5. Decline in communication

It is quite easy to confuse this sign with the signs of withdrawal exhibited by disengaged employees. However, many times even if the employees may continue to participate in organizational activities, they might have gradually cut down their communication with their coworkers and managers.

They might not communicate enough in team meetings or one-on-one meetings with their supervisors, might not respond properly when their opinions are sought through employee surveys, or might even choose to stay mum about the challenges and difficulties they might be facing in the completion of a specific task.

All these aspects, when viewed together, can forewarn the organization about the potential disengagement of the concerned employees.


Organizations should look out for these usual signs of disengaged employees and take timely action to improve employee engagement levels in the organization.

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HiFives ( is an employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. The platform enables supervisors and co-workers to nominate, recognize and reward employees using a points-based system. Budget management, jury-based evaluation and multi-level approval workflows are built into the platform. HiFives has social features such as a wall of fame and gamification features such as leaderboards, e-certificates and digital badges. It also has a global redemption system with country-specific e-gift card options. HiFives integrates with all leading HRMS systems, Office 365, Google Workspace, MS Teams, Slack and other popular tools used at the workplace. HiFives is used by many large enterprises, small businesses and startups across 25+ countries in the world, in many industries including manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media.