The ‘Great Disconnection’ is costing £340 billion every year

Companies must be proactive to increase staff engagement and retention

Companies are struggling to create a post-pandemic corporate culture for a hybrid world, while 60% of employees feel disengaged from their workplace. 

It, therefore, stands to reason that businesses need to be proactive because disengagement is costing them dearly. Benefits platform Perkbox estimates that disengaged employees cost the UK economy more than £340 billion annually in training and recruitment costs, sick days, productivity, creativity and innovation.

The study also found that disengaged employees cost around a fifth of their annual salary. For example, a disengaged worker with an average salary of £35,000 costs a company £7,000.

According to the results of another Robert Walters survey, it is clear that the UK is facing a ‘disengagement crisis’, with almost half of white-collar workers saying that their workplace has become less familiar in the last 12 months. 

High staff turnover (54%), fewer people coming into the office (49%) and the consequent decline in team socialising (43%) are the main factors. 

In addition, the bleak economic outlook (32%) and the lure of overseas moves (28%) are causing employees to disconnect from the workplace, investing less in their personalities and choosing to simply ‘put their heads down and get the job done’.

Act quickly

The most important finding is that the traditional tactics used to create a vibrant, inclusive and social corporate culture are simply no longer appropriate. This is despite the investments employers have made in corporate culture over the past three to five years and the more recent emphasis on attracting workers to the office.

The reality in the workplace is that the hybrid world of work and the resulting decline in office attendance undermine employee engagement. Companies must act quickly to maintain employee engagement and attract the best professionals.

Counter-offers abound

With the tightest labour market in over a decade, some employers who fear losing employees are offering pay raises to disengaged employees to retain them.

This summer, white-collar workers saw a record number of mid-year pay increases. According to a salary survey by Robert Walters, almost a third said they received a pay rise of between 5% and 10% or a one-off bonus of up to £1,000.

Toby Fowlston, CEO of Robert Walters, said: “While many employers are conducting mid-year pay reviews to increase engagement and retention, this is a short-term solution.

“There needs to be more focus on the wider topic of employee engagement, which should no longer be seen as a buzzword or an intangible, immeasurable HR concept that is good to have.”

Employee engagement is a key driver of motivation, commitment and productivity in the workplace. From a business perspective, employers also need to understand that it impacts the bottom line.

In this article, you learned that: 

  • 60% of professionals feel disengaged from work
  • Almost half find the workplace ‘unrecognisable.’
  • The Great Disconnection will cost UK economy £340bn+ this year alone (Perkbox)
  • Recruiter warns of ‘Disengagement Crisis’ as UK economic forecast looks bleak with 28% of professionals considering a career abroad
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