Disengaged employees often leave after their paid time off is exhausted, their performance has dropped, they’ve been verbally (and sometimes illegibly) disciplined, and their negativity has spread through the team. Essentially, 1/3 of one employee’s salary is flushed down the drain when a company chooses not to address employee disengagement. If a team’s average salary is $16/hour or $33,280 annually per team member, then one disengaged team member costs $11,093 per year. Unchecked employee disengagement can kill a team’s profitability, as the entire could be affected will be disengaged by default, negatively affecting the organization as a whole.
Below are 5 signs your employees are disengaged and what to do about it.
- Sick days and time off are being taken at higher rates. At this point, taking unpaid days off doesn’t matter. Your employees would rather avoid the workplace than be paid. Firing should not be your first step. Instead, it would help if you found out what they value more and found ways to satisfy that desire.
- Overtime pay and other incentives for extra work and higher performance are rejected. In other words, your employees wouldn’t do extra work if you paid them.
- Teams cohesion is falling apart. What once was a strong and bonded union has now degraded to individuals out for themselves.
- Regular productivity has taken a significant decline despite adding more support. Meeting the bare minimum requirements for the job is becoming less frequent.
- Negative attitudes toward clients, customers, peers, and the overall craft of their profession have disappeared. Employees who once loved what they did, whom they did it for, and the people they do it with have become more complacent and irritated. They care less about their work, their clients, and their peers.
How to address Disengagement
- Ask questions, acknowledge and validate your employees’ concerns. Just asking is not enough. Your employees want to be heard. Learn about what matters most to them as well as what they need. Forego the speeches about what leadership looks like and how people should behave and start implementing improvements.
- Provide a meaningful, fun, and relaxing team-building experience on your dime and time. Listen, if your employees are burned out and upset, they will not appreciate taking their time to attend a “mandatory fun” event. However, if you provide the same experience on your time and dime, you signal that you care about their enjoyment and want to see them have some fun.
- Identify the poison apple and consider termination, demotion, or reassignment after you’ve attempted rehabilitation. It just takes one disgruntled teammate to spoil the entire team. Energy is contagious, and negative energy spreads like a festering rash on sensitive skin. People are happier and more productive when the bad apple is removed from the bunch.
- Find out where the real problems exist. Is it unfair practices, poor client/customer relations, or lack of recognition?
- Invest in your organization by hiring an expert who can do a needs assessment, develop a plan, and work with you to solve the actual problem.