Beyond disengaged: actively disengaged

Disengaged employees are passionless and unmotivated about their job. They are at the lowest level for both own satisfaction and contribution to the organization’s goal / performance.

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There is another category known as “actively disengaged” that goes beyond the disengaged. Those employee are unhappy and unproductive at work and have negative mindset. What make them “active” is their inclination to spread negativity to coworkers.

In a French TedTalk, Isaac Getz describes actively disengaged as “people so unhappy that they come to work to demonstrate their unhappiness by taking up on engaged employees, just as a fox eating daily a chicken”. Conversely Isaac Gets describes engaged employees as chicken paid to lay white eggs but from their own initiative lay golden eggs.

The trouble with “actively disengaged” is their toxic mindset. Actively disengaged employees are often vocal or actively showing their negative attitude toward their work and their employer. They often speak about leaving and are more absent. They incline to undermine management’s authority and sabotage projects.

In the above video, Isaac Gets describes actively disengaged employees as those, in a boat, rowing purposely in the opposite direction, while simply disengaged pretend rowing but just lift the oars and splash a bit.

If actively disengaged employees cannot be recycled into engaged ones, the best solution is to get rid of them. This could help both the organization and themselves, as actively disengaged people are also often unhappy with their private lives. A new start may solve this problem as well.


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