To be successful, your employees need to do more than just show up. They need to be engaged at work and feel fulfilled by the effort that they’re putting in.
When employees are engaged, they come up with big ideas. They look for creative solutions to difficult problems and help bring innovation and efficiency to your organization. When your team is uninspired and disengaged, the opposite happens. Stagnation, disillusionment and attrition come to the surface, and your organization suffers.
So, how do you know when a team has reached this stage? What are the telltale signs that your employees have checked out?
We put together a list of some of the surest symptoms of organizational disengagement and how you can work to course-correct once they start to appear.
5 Signs of Employee Disengagement
Disengagement is a negative state for your organization to be in. It means your employees aren’t feeling attached to their work, and that they no longer care about their personal success or the success of the company.
Although employee disengagement can have a painful impact on your company, it can also be fixed. You need to be on the lookout for signs, so that you can take action immediately and get things back on track.
Here are five key signs that your employees are no longer feeling engaged at work.
They’re not thinking about the future
They might be thinking about their future, but not their future within your company. If employees are planning on leaving or are in the process of searching for something new, they will likely be more reluctant to take on long-term projects for fear of not following through. Employees that aren’t thinking about the future will be less likely to give their input or share ideas about improving processes and increasing efficiency.
So, what can you do about it? Help them think about their future and show that you’re ready to support them in their career. Work with them to discover what really interests them and create a path that they can take to get there. Showing that you care about their career advancement and showing them that growth is possible (especially within your organization) will get them excited about their job and help them feel like they’re working towards a specific goal.
They aren’t interested in learning
If an employee feels uninspired with their work, they are usually less interested in participating in training and programs. They’ve stopped caring about their current role and have lost interest in training that won’t apply to where they see themselves next. They also might feel guilty about accepting development resources if they feel like they may be moving onto another opportunity soon.
Do research to find out which skills your team is actually interested in and not just the skills that directly apply to each employee’s role. It’s better to offer training that can help someone explore a new path within your organization than for them to feel uninspired with their current position. Invest in your employee’s training and development through external options like funding or reimbursement for courses and conferences.
They’re less social
Employees who are harbouring negative feelings about their work situation will likely withdraw socially from the team. They are commonly less keen on pleasing their lead and less likely to attend optional social events. On a team-wide level, this can also materialize as less open discussions about work or social topics.
They may even be more vocal about criticisms and frustrations. It’s important that this negative feedback is heard by the right people, either their lead or their HR representative. That creates an opportunity for something to be done about it and to face the issues head on. Alternatively, if they share these frustrations with their coworkers, it may just spread negativity and lower the morale of the team.
Organizational change needs to start with leadership. Encourage leads to start open discussions and ask big questions about challenges that your team is facing to get conversation moving. Encourage team building activities that they will actually enjoy. How do you know what kinds of activities would interest them? Just ask.
They’re satisfied with mediocrity
Motivated employees will want to suggest new ideas or ways to innovate. Someone who is passionate and deeply cares about what they do would not be satisfied with mediocre work. If employees have just started phoning it in and doing the bare minimum, that's probably a really clear indication that they are losing steam and might be considering other options.
Think about ways that you can get employees invested in their work again on an individual level. Talk to them and see if there are other projects that they’d be more interested in taking on. Appealing to their personal interests, passions and strengths can help reignite an employee’s love for their work.
They’re absent more often
Some level of absenteeism should be expected in any organization, we’re human. But It’s important to recognize when absenteeism suddenly increases or becomes excessive. There are various potential causes for excessive absenteeism including burnout, disengagement or potentially even that your employee is interviewing elsewhere.
It’s important to be aware of patterns of absenteeism and address them early. It's also important to recognize when members of your team are overworked, stressed or losing steam, so that preventative measures can be taken before it's too late. Try to find out why people don’t feel like coming into work and help make being at the office a better experience.
Consider letting your employees work from home on a set day every week or think about offering more personal days to help prevent burnout and stress. Show your employees that you trust them and you understand that sometimes they need a break from the daily grind.
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