Employee engagement and retention are a cornerstone of a successful business. Research shows that companies with a highly engaged workforce have 21% higher profitability and 17% higher productivity than companies with a disengaged workforce. So companies must get employee engagement right.
In addition, retaining employees gives companies a competitive advantage. Companies that retain employees save money on recruiting costs and remain productive while companies that don’t prioritize engagement are busy recruiting and training new employees.
Lots of things can contribute to disengaged employees: toxic company culture, lack of new challenges or opportunities, bad management. The best way to monitor employee engagement is to get feedback from employees regularly and act on it.
When a person isn’t happy with their job, it can spill over and affect the morale of other employees. Even one disengaged employee can start to affect the organizational culture. Because of this, it’s important to monitor engagement and make improving the employee experience a part of your overall business strategy.
Here are a few ways to recognize a disengaged employee:
#1) They Don't Participate
Whether it’s a team meeting or company potluck, employees who don’t participate, or participate reluctantly, might be disengaged.
While some employees will never be interested in things like office happy hours or fitness challenges, when participation starts to decrease in essential job activities like team meetings, you may have a problem.
The ability to work as a team is what makes most companies successful. If the employees aren’t connected, then teamwork will suffer. This is why it’s important to recognize and deal with disengagement.
#2) Decline in Work Quality
If a previously top-performer is now submitting sub-par work it can be a sign of disengagement. Maybe they no longer find their work interesting or they’re no longer committed to the success of the company. Either way, a change in work quality is a clear indicator that something is wrong.
There could be another explanation for why work quality has declined. An employee may have something going on in their personal life or maybe their workload is overwhelming. Whatever the case, it’s important to communicate with your employees to get to the bottom of the problem and see if it can be rectified.
#3) Poor Attendance
It’s important to remember that employees are human, which means they’ll inevitably get sick, have emergencies, or need time off. However, if employees are excessively coming in late, leaving early, and calling out sick it could definitely be a sign of disengagement.
When employees avoid coming to work, it’s usually a symptom of a much bigger problem. They could be overworked, lacking desired employee benefits, or running away from a toxic work culture. Regardless of the reason, constant absenteeism hurts the customers and ultimately the company.
#4) Negative Attitude
We all know that one employee whose attitude can bring the whole office down. They’re constantly complaining, they shoot down every idea, they’re crabby or downright hostile to their co-workers.
If an employee is satisfied with their jobs, they likely wouldn’t behave that way. Those types of employees make a work environment intolerable for everyone and cause other employees to be disengaged as well. Recognizing when an employee’s attitude has changed can help you suss out disengagement.
#5) No Desire to Learn or Grow
If an employee is happy with just getting by and shows no interest in taking on leadership opportunities or growing in their role, it could be a sign of disengagement. When employees are excited about their jobs, they want to grow in their careers and learn skills that will make them more proficient.
As an industry changes, it’s important for employees to develop themselves professionally. The reality is employee complacency can be detrimental to an organization’s growth.
Disengaged employees can be a detriment to your business. They don’t do their best work or care much about the success of the company and are likely just waiting for the chance to jump ship. But here’s the good news: disengaged employees can be re-engaged.
Re-engaging employees starts with understanding what motivates them and caring about employee wellness. Asking for feedback on what you could do to better meet their needs and acting on that feedback will show employees that you care as much about them as the work they produce. Monitoring engagement regularly will give the best chance of retaining great employees.