Disengaged employees a huge cost for business owners


New research analysing employee engagement in 26 Australian mechanical repair workshops has discovered disengaged employees are costing business owners tens of thousands of dollars per year.

The Boyle Consulting Employee Engagement Survey, which analysed the responses of people within the mechanical repair, manufacturing, and mining sectors, found that 64 per cent of blue-collar workers are not involved in decisions which affect their team. In addition, it revealed that 62 per cent do not receive positive reinforcement for work they do, and 61 per cent believe internal communications are ineffective.

Meanwhile, 52 per cent of blue-collar workers think people management is ineffective, 50 per cent feeling disengaged and do not feel part of a team, and 19 per cent of workshop employees feeling highly disengaged.

The research also discovered workshops with the most engaged employees generate 11 per cent higher customer satisfaction and 43 per cent greater productive workforce efficiency which translates to $75,000 more labour recovery, per productive worker per annum.

Boyle Consulting Director, Rob Boyle said the research, which evaluated employee satisfaction with the clarity of overall direction, resources, processes, involvement, teamwork, growth and leadership at some of Australia’s top mechanical repair workshops, discovered some sobering findings.

“Employee experience is diminished by poor leadership,” Boyle said. “The greatest frustrations of workshop employees are poor communications, a lack of empowerment, not being recognised for good work, and an overall lack of involvement in decisions affecting skilled shop floor workers.

“Supervisors have a 12 per cent more overall positive perception of the work environment than their employees, meaning they may see less of a need to change leadership behaviours,” Boyle added.

Bottom five (least engaged) workplaces

The Index also discovered workshop employees are generally committed, customer orientated, and take pride in their work, but are hampered by the soft skills of leaders, and in some workshops by facilities, training and effectiveness of procedures.

Top five (most engaged) workplaces

Boyle also noted that employee engagement across the 26 workshops varied widely from 42 per cent to 80 per cent satisfaction with their work environment.

“The common denominator for such variation in team member engagement is not the built environment or size of operation or systems and resources, instead it is the leader’s ability to connect with people,” Boyle said. “Workshop leaders must hone their interpersonal and team-building skills to make their workplaces more productive with positive and encouraging work environments.

“If they don’t, leaders will continue to lose money and watch disengaged workers walk out the door in search of a workplace that values their skillset and ideas,” he concluded.