A disengaged employee is not just bad because of the effect it has on their own work, but because often their negativity spreads to other employees as well.
Disengagement is not necessarily something you can look out for when hiring your staff. It can be so gradual in current employees that unless you look out for certain signs, you might not even realise it’s happened. Where they might once have been proactive and full of ideas, they could now just be quietly working to get to the end of the week.
There are key things a manager can do to keep their employees feeling motivated and committed to the job. Spotting any one of these could help you re-engage a valuable team member and keep your business operating at its peak:
Employees who are engaged and enthusiastic will give feedback with problems and want to suggest ideas with their manager. A disengaged employee will be less likely to do this. If they really have to talk to a manager, you may find they have little time or energy to build a proper conversation.
This should immediately send warning signs and is particularly bad as it spreads to other employees. Even those who are happy might find small complaints from fellow employees sticking in their minds and affecting their own outlook.
Disengaged employees can be frustrated with being somewhere they don’t want to be. Unfortunately, they might take this out on other employees and create rifts. They will also resist instructions or requests from other staff members or management.
Having brief, friendly conversation around the office is great for staff morale. But when employees are spending too much time talking in the break room, it’s a sign. If they’re rarely where they are meant to be, or you spot them scrolling through social media, they are not at all engaged.
They will not make an effort to be at work on time, or at all. Everyone is a little bit late or off sick sometimes, but those employees that don’t want to be at work will regularly make a point of being late in, taking long lunch breaks, or just not coming in at all.
Disengaged employees won’t care about meeting targets or reaching deadlines. They have given up striving for their best efforts and are not progressing, with no intention of doing so. If an employee who you know has the ability to perform well is not doing so, something needs to be done.
Reasons they might feel this way could be because they don’t feel appreciated or they don’t feel challenged. As a manager it is important to keep your staff feeling engaged.
There are plenty of ways to do this, particularly when you look at what employees really want out of a workplace.