An independent online survey commissioned by Randstad found that out of 60% of respondents who have searched for new jobs during their working hours, 69% of them do not feel guilty for doing so. 

This lack of guilt indicates that employees who have already decided to resign are most probably no longer loyal to their employer. This could have a negative impact on the overall employee morale, as their behaviour in the workplace could encourage others to start looking for new job opportunities too. 

the absence of guilt is primarily attributed to employee disengagement

Disengaged employees already have one foot out the door. There are signs of disengaged employees that you can spot. They also tend to be less loyal towards their employers. When presented with the right opportunity, these actively disengaged employees will take lunch time or time off to attend job interviews and meet with recruiters.

signs of disengaged employees
signs of disengaged employees

The consequences of getting caught job searching at work do not faze them at all. The Randstad study showed that 28% of respondents have even searched for new career opportunities using their work computers. Companies with disengaged employees will experience lower productivity levels, higher levels of absenteeism and higher turnover rates.

reasons why do employees become disengaged and start looking for new jobs

Employees become disengaged for a multitude of reasons, from feelings of frustration over the lack of career advancement and growth opportunities, to simply a cultural mismatch. Identifying the reasons behind why some employees have lost their motivation at work is crucial for companies to resolve the situation and prevent further disengagement and attrition in their workforce.

1. lack of career growth opportunities

The lack of career progression opportunities is one of the key reasons why employees start to consider resignation as a strategic move to develop their career. When employees do not see themselves having a future in their current companies, they will start looking out for other opportunities that can promise their progression. 

Career growth and advancement opportunities are critical in ensuring employee job satisfaction, and in return, give companies a better engaged workforce and higher retention rate. According to Randstad Hong Kong’s 2019 Employer Brand Research, respondents from all four generations (Baby Boomers, Gen-X, Millennials and Gen-Z) listed ‘a limited career path’ as one of the top three reasons why they will leave their employers. 

2. cultural mismatch

Forbes reported that 89% of hiring failures are attributed to poor cultural fit. When employees find it challenging to connect with their co-workers in a professional setting or at social gatherings, they will start to feel left out and isolated. 

An employee who is a poor cultural fit could have a negative impact on established workplace dynamics, especially in an environment where team collaboration is expected. The misalignment between their beliefs and the organisation’s values may negatively affect other employees in the same team, and erode group cohesion over time.

root causes of employee disengagement
root causes of employee disengagement

how to improve employee engagement levels

Studies showed that companies spend more resources trying to re-engage an employee who has already lost interest in working for the organisation. 

It would be a more cost-effective strategy if companies adopt robust employee engagement strategies and tactics right from the beginning of the employee’s journey with the company.

plot out comprehensive career progression paths

The importance of plotting out comprehensive career progression pathways cannot be overstated. 

When employees have clearer career progression visibility, they will be motivated to work harder to meet their targets as it can help them with promotion and pay raise negotiations. Consequently, employees are also more likely to stay longer, so that they can take advantage of the learning and growth opportunities in store for them.

Managers should meet up with their team members on a regular basis to discuss and align their goals, before mapping their career development plans. This helps them better achieve short-term targets, as the company supports them in their long-term growth development. 

Besides promotion milestones, employers should also include upskilling and training programmes as checkpoints, so that their employees are better prepared for their next role. 

the importance of employer branding

Employers can also brand themselves better to see better engagement levels. Employer branding is not just about how your employees rank you as an employer or how well you think you have done your job. It is how others outside of the organisation see you as an employer. 

Do job seekers think that you treat your employees well and trust that you will do the right thing to help them develop professionally? Does your stakeholders think that your workforce is highly-capable to strike a meaningful working connection? 

Companies with a positive employer branding receive twice as many job applications, giving them a wider selection of talent and better chances of hiring the candidate with the best boss, culture and job fit. Furthermore, 50% of candidates would not work for a company with a bad reputation even when presented with a salary increment. 

Organisations with a strong and positive reputation are also able to better retain their employees. These companies tend to have a collaborative workforce, robust career development roadmaps and attractive remuneration packages. When employees wake up every morning feeling positive and motivated about their day ahead, it is unlikely that they will leave their employers.

retain your people by focusing on employee experience

Many factors come to play when building a positive employee experience. Salary, employee benefits and work-life balance are quickly becoming hygiene factors that employees expect from their employers. 

Today, workers look to their employers to fulfill their personal aspirations; they seek purpose in their jobs and want to feel like they have made a positive impact on their communities. It is the employers’ responsibility to set their employees up for success, by giving them the tools and resources they need to optimise productivity and be at their best. 

Randstad conducts a global annual Employer Brand Survey to rank the most attractive employers in Hong Kong and seek to understand the factors that motivate employees (across different generations) to stay or leave their employers. Visit our employer branding library for more resources on creating a positive employee experience that will impact your bottom line.