why-employees-are-disengaged
November 29, 2018

Why Your Employees are Disengaged

Employee disengagement is something all employers fear. Having a workforce that is uninvolved and unproductive can be damaging to the company’s bottom line. When employees are disengaged, they are not at peak performance. Tasks do not get completed and project deadlines can suffer.

It’s not enough to just will your employees to engagement. There is no magic spell you can cast to suddenly get everyone refocused on their work. In most cases, employee disengagement is a case by case situation. No two employees are going to feel the same way. To address their feelings, you must know why the employee is disengaged in the first place. Here are a few things that can cause your employees to be disengaged with their work. 

They’re Not Being Challenged

As people grow in their professional experiences, they can grow out of their work and become bored with what they are doing. They can become less and less interested in the work they have been assigned and dread doing more than the bare minimum. Your employees need to be challenged. Help them to stay engaged by offering work assignments that may require more steps or additional research.

Give them the opportunity to break out of the mundane and take on new tasks. You may even challenge them to work on their own passion project. Having time to work on something they truly feel will benefit the company may rekindle their excitement for the work they are doing and their contributions to the company.

They Don’t See the Bigger Picture

Ever hear an employee say, “It’s not like it matters anyway?” If you have, then you should know that this is a red flag that the employee is disengaged. Sometimes we lose sight of what we are working towards. Employees who can not see the bigger picture of the company or have forgotten how their work contributes to that picture are not only unfocused but are discouraged. They may no longer feel fulfilled in the work they are doing because they have lost sight of its value. They fail to see how their work benefits the overall goals of the company and get into a rut.

Help employees to see their worth by thanking them when a piece of a project has been completed. Let them know that you appreciate their work and remind them of how it is an important part of what the company does. Hang posters of the company’s mission statement and values around the office. These small motivators remind employees of what it means to be part of the company and encourages them to uphold the mission. 

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They’re Having Trouble at Home

A lot of companies operate under the idea that their employees should leave their personal business at the door. When coming into the workplace employees are expected to focus on their work without taking personal calls, discussing their personal lives, or allowing their emotions to get the best of them.

This idealization is inhuman. It’s also impossible. As humans, we feel things. Our emotions can weigh on us and cause us to be distracted. Employees who are having trouble outside the workplace become disengaged when the things they are facing in the personal lives start to take priority. Stress, fear, anxiety, and sadness can plague their ability to focus on their work.

Employees don’t always have to be having problems at home to feel disengaged at work. At times, feelings of excitement or happiness can cause employees to be distracted. Things happening outside of work like the birth of a new baby, moving into a new home, or getting ready to take a vacation cause a range of emotions that can take employees away from their work.

If you notice an employee struggling to stay focused, taking a lot of extra phone calls or extended breaks out of the office, pull them aside and have a private conversation about what might be going on. Listen and be compassionate. Brainstorm solutions together that would allow the employee the time they need to handle their personal business while remaining productive at work.

They Aren’t Getting Along with Coworkers

Even the best teams have their issues. There are times when employees just don’t get along with each other. This can cause not just one, but all your employees to feel uncomfortable, stressed, and disengaged. When employees are not working well with each other, they are less likely to come together as a team to complete challenging tasks. People tend to become standoffish or self-absorbed. This can kill your workplace culture and cause employees to feel out of place, unaccepted, disrespected, and unincluded.

Mitigate issues between employees by meeting with divided parties separately. With an open mind, listen to what each person has to say and find out what is causing the deterioration of the work relationship. Do not cast judgement until both parties have had the opportunity to speak. Before doling out punishment, see if your employees can come up with an agreed upon solution. Make sure everyone has had the opportunity to offer their ideas before deciding on a course of action.

By giving employees the opportunity to speak out about the issues they are having with a coworker and allowing them to be part of creating a solution, they may take on a more proactive attitude. Letting employees talk out their differences give everyone the chance to validate their feelings and make their voices matter.

They Aren’t Being Recognized

Feeling unappreciated is one of the biggest killers of employee engagement. Your employees are working very hard to finish projects, close deals, and finish every day tasks. When you don’t recognize their efforts, it can create feelings of disdain, resentment, and even disloyalty. It’s human nature to want to be noticed, to feel appreciated, and to be recognized for what we contribute to the workplace.

Implement an employee recognition program that includes different levels of recognition. Work with a recognition solutions provider to develop a program that will recognize your employees for their every day accomplishments as well as their biggest wins.

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Written by Anita Hawkins

Anita is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Levy Recognition. She loves helping people discover the custom awards process and teaching them about the methods and materials used to create custom awards and trophies. She has spent the majority of her career in the Marketing Industry, gaining experiences in areas such as Inbound Marketing, Journalism, and Web Design. While Digital Marketing is her primary job function by day, Anita also enjoys watching sports, competing in trivia events, and spending time with family and friends.
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