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Tips on How to Deal with Disengaged Employees in the Workplace

disengaged employees

The success of any organization depends on the collective work of every individual.  Typically, a mix of fully engaged and disengaged employees can be found at a workplace.  The key is to address the issues causing the disengagement as quickly as possible before it spreads throughout the organization… as once this happens it will be more difficult to make that complete change in culture.  It is better to deal with this sort of problem while it is still small.

Let’s look at the typical characteristics of disengaged employees and the effect they have on the team:

  1. They tend to affect the work environment in a negative manner.
  2. They tend to disturb the work that others are trying to accomplish and certainly do not complete much themselves.
  3. Ultimately their work productivity tends to be very low.
  4. Typically, they do not reach their assigned targets or goals.
  5. They appear to be lazy.
  6. They consciously choose NOT to work.

Now let’s examine the impact they have on the workplace:

  1. They fail to accomplish assigned tasks which can impact on the completion of any group project.
  2. They create disturbances for others, impacting on the productivity of their fellow workers.
  3. They exhibit negative feelings and can drag down even normally engaged workers.
  4. They definitely exert a negative influence on the work environment.
  5. Partly-engaged people are also a liability to an organization.
  6. These individuals, too, can cause negative outcomes both for themselves and others.
  7. This attitude has an impact on all employee experiences, attitudes, and even on employee retention.
  8. This approach can create issues with the all customers and particularly disturb your loyal customers.
  9. Finally, they can affect the ROI of the organization, the employee retention and productivity of all the workers.

So how can this situation be dealt with in a positive manner?

First, it is essential to identify which employees are engaged, partly-engaged, and completely disengaged.

Next you should identify why the employees have disengaged and discuss the issues that are the causative factors and attempt to rectify them by offering better solutions or collaboratively exploring feasible options.  Then you can try to motivate them with tangible benefits.   Intrinsic motivation can be increased by making the employees feel at ease, encouraging them to develop their skills, and promoting them to higher positions as their newly acquired abilities provide them with the tools necessary to warrant advancement.  The real key here is effective, clear, honest and open communication with your team.  Only if they feel trust, respect and rapport with you will they open up and share their concerns so that, together you can explore the options that will help them to feel more motivated and connected to their work and your organization.

Extrinsic Motivation could include:

  • An increase in their salary
  • The giving of a bonus
  • Providing extra incentives

Consider explaining to the disengaged employees how to change their behavior so that they can become re-engaged.

Make them understand their position and just how they fit into the big picture of the entire organization.

Assign mentors to them so that they can guided and coached moving forward through the change.

Review the employee’s performance appraisal and collaboratively work on how they can improve that performance.

Encourage the employees to interact with your HR personnel as they are likely better trained to deal with change issues.

Develop and model positive attitudes in the workplace.  Managers must set the tone for their teams so demonstrating the strategies and attitudes you wish them to embrace will help to make that part of the culture.

Provide your managers with the training necessary for them to be effective in this role so they can learn to leverage the gifts and abilities of their team members so that the whole team benefits.

Disengagement in the workplace hinders progress and results in low productivity. These attitudes disturb the work environment and decrease profitability of the organization. Managers need to be trained on how to deal with these issues and so that they can help their teams to increase productivity by reducing the number of disengaged employees in their teams.

Remember, changing a culture of apathy is exceedingly difficult once it takes hold and therefore requires great commitment and perseverance by the management team to rebuild a culture of autonomy, mastery and purpose so that the employees can enjoy the challenges of their work and reach their full potential.

 

 

 

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