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How to Engage the Disengaged Employees: A Novel Technique

According to a recent survey, around 70 per cent employees consider themselves disengaged. It is shocking news. Manager does not say that the employees are disengaged. Employees themselves admit they are disengaged.

In a way, this admission is a good thing. The employees have realized the truth. They are no longer fooling themselves. The fact that they feel disengaged, indicates that they like to be engaged.

It also means that their organization did not take any steps to engage these employees though they were ready all the time to be engaged. This reminds us of a line of Milton, “The hungry sheep look up and are not fed!”

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In collaboration with Ipsos, Steelcase Inc. released a Global Workplace Report. The survey covered 12,480 participants from 17 countries. The study reveals that there is a correlation between employees’ attitude about the workplace and their level of engagement.

If there is involvement, there will be engagement. Two factors encourage involvement. One is the inner urge. Other is external motivation.

Sermons and instructions do not motivate in the real sense. Little, little challenges motivate more, and produce involvement and engagement.

Let us look at a case study

A global resources company settled on three goals:

GOAL 1 Cut down cost
GOAL 2 Improve productivity
GOAL 3 Enhance safety


What the companies do generally (to achieve the goals)?

Companies formulate the strategy at the management level and dictate the instructions to the employees for implementation.

But what did they do differently?

The company invited ideas from the employees to fulfill these three objectives


In the next six months,

-> 1700 ideas came from the employees

-> 95 per cent ideas were very relevant

Eventually, what happened?

These ideas really helped the company to cut cost, improve productivity and enhance safety.

Even the management itself could have thought of these ideas. That is not the matter. Each and every employee was involved in this ideation. That is the point.

A disengaged employee would not give idea like this. Here almost all the employees proved their engagement by giving ideas.

But the company gave them an opportunity to prove their engagement. Otherwise, they too would have remained disengaged like 68 per cent disengaged employees in the other companies.

This is a successful model. It is a novel technique. Recognize every employee’s role in the company. Tell them to help you, to correct you, to guide you and to lead you. They may not rise up to perform these great things. But they will at least be engaged in their own work in the company.

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