Unlocking workforce potential

raceIn a game, there are two kinds of players – one who participate to win and the others who participate because they like being part of the game, winning is no condition for them. In professional context, the first category is called the actively-engaged employees while second category constitutes majority of our workforce and is called the non-engaged employees. For these employees, the game is simple; they stay in employment without adding any significant value to the organization. Spotting them is easier by paying attention to their work behavior:

  • They are on time for work and meetings but lack initiation and participation.
  • They are good at meeting deadlines and targets but always need direction.
  • They know the job but focus on accomplishing the task not on outcome.

The real success of an organization and HR lies in engaging this non-engaged category of employees which by research statistics is 54%-62% of the total workforce. Non-engaged employees don’t always add to turnover and that’s one of the reason they are often overlooked while designing employee engagement activities.  These are the employees who have the potential but lack motivation. Engaging them is easy, all that is needed is to push their motivation tiger and get them going.


Non-engaged employees seek involvement. They feel happy to know that their contribution matters and look for encouragement to express their opinion.


Responsibility motivates the non-engaged employees. A good way to engage them is to stop giving directions and assign them responsibilities. Make them aware of the outcome they are expected to deliver, let them find their own ways of achieving results.

Effective support system

For non-engaged employees, an effective support system consists of a Manager who is listening and encouraging, an open communication environment in the organization, good training and mentoring initiatives.  A good support system is critical for employee engagement.

 In practice, the employee engagement initiatives are largely focused on a third category of employees, the disengaged employees. These efforts do not deliver great results as the disengaged employees are highly negative and lack commitment to their job and the employer. Thus, the smart way to tap the underutilized workforce potential is through the non-engaged employees.  Recognizing the early signs of non-engagement and providing timely support helps in reducing employee turnover and increasing productivity much before the non-engaged workforce turns to the actively disengaged one.


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