Only 15% of employees worldwide are fully engaged in their jobs, according to Gallup. While some will be distracted by personal issues, others are simply disengaged due to complacency.  They feel that they are adept enough to continue with their daily, and borderline monotonous, routines without having to look out for anything that might be amiss.


Sadly, workplace complacency can easily lead to your company’s worst nightmares. What’s even worse is that this ever-looming challenge can be tough to identify in your workplace. The fact still remains, it needs to be eradicated to improve productivity and increase the profitability of your business while keeping everyone safe.

Here is a guide to understanding employee complacency and how to deal with it:


The Dangers of Employee Complacency

The resulting safety risk is one of the worst dangers of a complacent workplace. Since employees believe that they are always on the right track, it can be easy to ignore common safety measures which often spawn fatal accidents and business losses. What’s worse is that complacency can be contagious enough to affect your new employees once you know where you can find temporary workers.

Implementing new policies also becomes an uphill task in a workplace that embraces complacency. Since employees are in a comfort zone with their previous practices, they find it tough to adapt to any changes. In the long run, this leads to reduced profitability as competitors take a more favorable position in the competition curve.


Battling Workplace Complacency Starts With the Management

Before pointing fingers to a complacent employee, first look in the mirror. In most cases, the complacency culture starts with the management and c-suite leaders. This is because they unknowingly encourage, and maybe reward, complacent employees.

You might have noticed that an employee did an excellent job, but they ignored common safety measures. While rewarding such an employee is the intuitive thing to do, it shouldn’t be done in this case. Were situations to be different where the safety risk did not to fall in their favor, you would be discussing a different story.

Be prudent enough to follow up on how an employee achieved something before praising their achievements. Additionally, follow the set safety rules yourself, as a manager, since employees will often emulate the actions of their leaders.


Create Meaning to Tasks

While some employees are complacent due to believing that they are more than adept, others do so because they fail to realize how important their tasks are to the fulfillment of your entire organization’s goals. The trick is to change this inferiority mindset. When engaging employees in tasks, ensure that you spell out how vital their work is to the organization’s strategic goals.

Once employees see the bigger picture, they will become more of active than passive participants in achieving these goals. To further increase their engagement, setup ways to celebrate major wins or progress with them. For instance, you can set aside a day in the year for your employees to take a trip and celebrate the year’s accomplishments. You can make those trips even more successful by integrating them with team building activities.


Eliminate Obstacles

The typical workplace scenario is one where employees have to commit to repetitive tasks daily. Adding obstacles to such tasks can increase the chances of employee disengagement and complacency. Aim to eliminate such obstacles from their daily tasks.

Apply an open door policy in your workplace to embrace a trust culture in your organization. As employees approach managers with workplace concerns, they can be dealt with at an early stage before they breed complacency.



Optimal productivity and employee complacency can never coexist in the same organization. The onus is upon managers to identify signs of complacency and uproot them from their workforce, regardless of whether they are working with temporary or permanent employees. Embrace setting the best example for your employees to steer away from having a complacent culture.