Gallup’s annual State of the Worker report indicates that employee engagement in the United States is the highest it’s been in years – at 33%.  Unfortunately, that still means that two out of three workers in the US are not engaged in the job they do or the organization they work for.

You’ve likely heard about all the major negatives on disengaged employees – they are less productive, less positive about the organization to potential customers and employees, and more likely to leave for jobs at other agencies or the private sector.

But has your team considered what this means for illegal or unethical behavior happening at your agency?  Low engagement impacts more than just employee productivity.  At best, employees who are “not engaged” are less likely to be concerned enough about their work environment to report wrongdoing to the team responsible for investigating that behavior.  At worst, they’ll be more likely to commit unethical or illegal behavior themselves, because they don’t view themselves as part of a team but rather as a cog in a machine.

Engaged employees, on the other hand, care about your agency and its goals – they will go out of their way to get rid of bad actors because they view employment at the agency as part of their own identity.

Gallup also reports that 16% of employees are “actively disengaged.” While these employees might be more willing to report illegal behavior than others (as they’re often angry with those around them) they’re also more likely to steal from their employer, negatively influence coworkers and miss workdays.  The more disengaged employees an organization has, the higher rates of wrongdoing it’s likely to experience – this behavior will lead to higher legal risk and lower public perception.

And before you consult an employee satisfaction survey to determine if this is a challenge your agency is facing, it’s important to note that ‘satisfied’ employees can still be disengaged.  Employees can be satisfied with the job duties, the stress levels of the job, or the pay they receive without being engaged in the work they do.

Increasing employee engagement can bring two important results related to HR investigations:

1. It can result in less wrongdoing and more reports of violations as more and more employees take ownership of building and maintaining a positive work environment.

2. On a long-term basis it can greatly decrease employer risk as fewer violations occur due to the awareness of no tolerance and bad actors leaving the organization.

To learn more about CMTS:HR and how it can help your agency reduce employer risk, call us at 919.600.5102 or email us at