As this seems to be a rather common issue and affects about 90% of the workforce, here are five ideas to employ whenever an employee starts disengaging.
- Reconnect and Truly Listen
The first part of solving any problem is addressing it through an honest and respectful conversation. An enlightened company knows that they have human beings on staff and that they have problems that require human solutions. They also know that their people are their most valuable asset so keeping them happy and engaged is a win/win for everyone. So, schedule a one-on-one discussion with your disengaged employee, and ask them what is happening. Is there a workplace stressor that you can address together? How can you help them solve the issue they seem to be experiencing? What do they need to do in order to reignite their inspiration and passion for the job? Ask these questions and then listen very carefully to the answers. Then you will be able to begin to formulate an ongoing plan so that employees will be less likely to disconnect again in the future.
Manage Your Team Differently
One common reason for employee disengagement is that an individual’s needs are not being met through their current team or leadership structure. So after the aforementioned honest conversation, figure out what you can do differently as a manager to assist your team members in succeeding and fulfilling their potential, as again this benefits everyone. Perhaps you need to leave your door open for questions, or you need to reduce your micromanaging tendencies. Whatever adjustment you need to make, start doing it! Don’t skip this step as research indicates that employees spend up to 15 hours a week (a full 22 working days a year!) griping about their manager. So there is always something you can do to improve and if you do, your team will be more successful and happy. Happy teams are more productive, efficient and creative. They are even healthier as happiness enhances one’s immune system as it changes brain chemistry.
Set Goals Together
The best way to refocus the employee’s attention is to put a deadline in front of them. To show your team members that you truly believe they have what it takes to re-engage and deliver results, collaboratively set a goal with them. Brainstorm a way in which they can uniquely contribute to a current or future project, and then set a firm deadline. Work with them, encourage and support them and check in often to help them succeed. You will soon watch that first success grow into a springboard for future goals and achievements.
One of the biggest culprits behind today’s levels of disengagement is boredom at work. Many employees begin a new job with excitement and enthusiasm, only to find the day-to-day work does not utilize their full potential and does not ask them for creative, problem-solving solutions. So try to shake up your employee’s daily routine. Maybe send them to an exciting industry conference. Perhaps you can attend an expert webinar together. Another option would be to set them up with a mentor in your organization. Find projects, where they can get into something they are passionate about that, which also offers both individual and professional growth. All these opportunities will expand their world at work and help to deliver a dose of inspiration and a fresh perspective.
Acknowledge their Contributions
There is nothing more motivating than a dose of appreciation at work—research proves it. Above a raise or a bonus, employees cite recognition and appreciation as their number one motivator for great work. So if you are truly committed to your disengaged employee turning over a new leaf, recognize them as they start making small steps in that direction. A simple thank you will work wonders in helping your disengaged employee feel like a valued and appreciated part of the team. Then, when they accomplish some real results, celebrate the win publicly. It shows the employee and the entire team that you value and appreciate people and their great work.
Burnout and overworking will certainly cause the inspiration well to run dry so it definitely needs to be addressed as it will not fix itself, rather it will just get worse.
When a previously engaged employee starts falling down the slippery slope of disengagement, the whole team feels the negative ripple effects on their motivation, collaboration, and results. Follow these simple tips to turn the disengagement trend around, and your team member/s will be back to delivering great work and results for your team and your organization, which of course is a win/win for everyone.