frustrated young business manWhat Can You Do About Disengaged Employees?

By Kristen Kelly, HR Specialist

Formal employee evaluations or actively analyzing your organization’s employee engagement makes it easier to recognize when you have disengaged employees. These  employees may show up late and leave early, verbally criticize the organization and its management, and spend more time counting down the hours until the weekend instead of doing their jobs. Ultimately, having a disengaged workforce will impact your bottom line since you may experience an increase in turnover costs and lost productivity. There are some steps you can take to improve and evaluate employee engagement right away. However, ESC still recommends a full evaluation of your employee engagement. In this way, your company can set a long-term plan which will ultimately improve your bottom line.

Disengagement Chart
The above chart shows the predominant reasons for employee disengagement.

Reasons for Disengagement

The side pie chart shows the three main reasons why employees become disengaged. You can see poor management is one of the leading causes of a disengaged workforce.  With this in mind, some specific issues a disengaged employee may have with a manager are:

  • Relationship issues: an employee may feel a manager doesn’t care about them as a person.
  • Poor accountability: there is a lack in expectations, direction or communication.
  • Limited positive reinforcements: a manager may lack in providing recognition or promoting teamwork.
  • Poor autonomy: lack of respect, fairness and trust.

Improving Management

Cultivating feedback is the first step to improve management. To do this, consider conducting an engagement survey.  This will allow you to identify what type of problems need to be addressed. You can then consider ongoing management training and leadership development to address any problems that may be affecting your workforce engagement.

Some managers may need assistance in communicating openly and consistently about the company’s short and long-term goals.  With that in mind, management training should include the importance of communication so that you can identify and assist those managers that need to strengthen their communications skills.  Employees need and want to know where their company is going and how the company is doing so that they can feel connected to the company.  Also, employees need communication to know how their work connects to the direction of the company.

A final step you can take as an employer is to address disengaged employees by making sure managers are recognizing employee’s accomplishments and promoting a teamwork environment. Employees sense their value by the recognition and respect they receive from their managers.