Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Warning signs your team is disengaged, part of Motivating and Engaging Employees.
- Employee disengagement has a psychological, behavioral, and financial impact. Psychologically, disengaged employees feel distant and lacking in purpose. This translates into unproductive behaviors. Overall, these employees are far more likely to perform to minimum standards, instead of striving for higher performance. Financially, for just one organization, the cost of disengaged employees can run into the millions of dollars every year. That's why it's so important to remain vigilant in looking for signs of disengagement.
When you see more than normal, or too many in general, you know you have to re-focus on what it means to engage the team. Ultimately, disengagement will lead to a drop in performance. Before that happens, see if you can identify the warning signs. Here, in no particular order, are the top seven signs that your team is becoming disengaged. First, turnover is increasing. If the rate of employees leaving the organization is greater than your baseline data, this is cause for concern. It takes a lot of time and money to attract, select, hire, and train new talent.
So watch turnover closely, and ensure you use effective exit interviews. Another sign is rising absenteeism. If the amount of time employees are not at work trends upward, there might be a problem. Similarly, watch to see if people start arriving later in the mornings or leaving earlier in the afternoons. The more disengaged they are, the less they'll want to hang around the office. Another classic indicator, is an increase in employee complaints. When negative comments about the work and the organization have become too commonplace, disengagement may be setting in.
Time spent mediating conflict, also provides a good signal. If you sense an increase in the time that you and other managers are spending resolving employee conflicts, that's a red flag, assuming it's not just the same one or two people all the time, it's likely disengagement. Next, consider a lack of learning behaviors. Healthy and engaged employees actively seek out opportunities to learn new jobs, and improve current processes. Conversely, if people have stopped showing this type of initiative, disengagement may be the issue.
If you want the group to be creative, and support innovation, they have to be actively trying new things, and embracing learning. Another indicator is difficulty developing talent. If fewer and fewer people are actively trying to seek advancement and promotion, the reason might not be lack of opportunity, it could be disengagement. Finally, look for an erosion in trust. If you no longer have employees coming to you to discuss their concerns, suggestions, and new ideas, there could be an issue. If they used to seek out your guidance with challenging tasks and interpersonal issues, but no longer do, disengagement might be the problem.
The best way to deal with disengagement, is to avoid creating it in the first place. Keep your eyes open for the signs we just discussed. When you see a few of these signs, don't panic. Gently, and positively intervene. Talk to the team, be helpful, and try to help get them back on track. It's like the old Benjamin Franklin saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Your team doesn't have to be disengaged. Spend a little time now, preventing disengagement, so you won't have to spend a lot of time dealing with it later.
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- Assessing employee engagement
- Providing autonomy
- Building a transparent culture
- Modeling desired behavior
- Using monetary and nonmonetary motivators
- Fostering accountability
- Developing career paths for employees<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.