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Unhappy Workers Cost U.S. Businesses $1.9T


January 23, 2024

 

Disgruntled employees cost U.S. companies an estimated $1.9 trillion in lost productivity last year, according to research from Gallup that puts a price tag on workplace unhappiness.

 

That eye-popping figure stems from more Americans feeling detached from their employers in the aftermath of the pandemic. A measure of engagement from Gallup’s surveys had been steadily rising for a decade but peaked in 2020. The disruption of the past few years reduced satisfaction in the workplace, with more employees saying they don’t clearly know what’s expected of them — a symptom that reduces engagement.

 

The stakes are high for companies because an engaged workforce increases productivity, and that helps boost sales and profit. Connecting better with staff also ups worker retention.

 

Having motivated employees is linked to “a lot of different outcomes that are important to organizations,” said Jim Harter, chief scientist for Gallup’s workplace practice.

 

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