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Privately Held Companies: Cost of Disengagement, Benefits of Engagement

RESEARCH: The 10th annual survey by the Queen’s School of Business Centre for Business Venturing (QCVB) and Aon Hewitt highlights the economic cost of employee disengagement.

While much attention has been paid to the engagement issues faced by large employers, Toronto based QCVB shifts the focus to businesses that employ between 50 and 399 employees.


Over a ten-year period, with more than 111,000 employees surveyed, this initiative provides solid evidence of the benefits of having an engaged workforce.

QCVB Project Development Director Einar Westerlund explains: “The business cost of each disengaged employee in an organization is in the neighborhood of $10,000.”


Conversely, there are major benefits to attracting and retaining engaged employees. For example, the study’s data shows that organizations with the most engaged employees achieve:

  • 65% greater share-price increase
  • 26% less employee turnover
  • 100% more unsolicited employment applications
  • 20% less absenteeism
  • 15% greater employee productivity
  • Up to 30% greater customer satisfaction levels

“Attracting and retaining the best people is critical to the success of any company,” says Elspeth Murray, QCBV Director and Associate Dean of MBA Programs. “It’s especially important, though, in smaller organizations, where resources are often stretched to the limit… and the perception may be that measuring employee engagement is a luxury they can’t afford.” The QCBV/Aon Hewitt survey shows this is far from the case.

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