If you suspect your employees are showing signs of disengagement, you should take action.

Over 50% of employees that aren’t reaching their potential is due to the fact that they are disengaged.

Generally, there are three types of employees:

  • Engaged: These are those who work hard and exceed expectations.
  • Disengaged: These employees have trouble staying on task. They may miss deadlines, take more sick days than usual.
  • Actively disengaged: This is the employee who is clearly miserable at work. They undermine co-workers and sabotage productivity with a negative attitude they carry.

It’s common to dismiss a disengaged employee, but that could cost you.


Signs of Employee Disengagement

Employee disengagement can be difficult to identify. Sometimes it’s obvious — a staff member stops showing up, arrives late, or frequently leaves early. Other times, disengagement appears in missed deadlines or uninspiring performance. Regardless, disconnected employees drain productivity and can cost you money.


1. They’re falling behind.

If you start hearing excuses such as, “I didn’t realise I was supposed to do that,” or “I think someone else made that mistake,” it’s a sign that your employee isn’t keeping up with their work. This type of disengagement causes a slow drain on your productivity. If this is happening on your team, keep in mind that family issues or a heavy workload can cause employees to rush through deadlines and forget about important tasks. Rule out these issues before you take any drastic actions so you don’t make a big mistake!


2. Their work is “good enough.”

You want your team to strive for excellence and work to the best of their ability, rather than trying to get tasks off their plate. Engaged employees are always looking for new ways to excel and go above and beyond what’s expected. Employees who have lost their motivation won’t give you their best effort, and they may sit back and go under the radar, hoping you won’t notice that they aren’t delivering the work and to a high quality standard.


3. Employees are standoffish or withdrawn.

Employees who are engaged with their work will participate in meetings, offer new ideas and insight into their work, and other contributions. If you notice that an employee starts to become withdrawn or quiet during team meetings, it could be a sign that they are feeling disengaged. You might notice their minds drifting or even that they are having trouble staying focused or awake.


4. Absence.

Disengaged employees will find any excuse to skip work, arrive late, or leave early. If you notice frequent excuses about doctor appointments, illnesses, family matters and more, this could be cause for concern. It’s also a sign of disengagement if they ignore deadlines, communications, and meetings when they are out of the office. Even if employees are actually in work, they could be mentally absent if you see them zoning out on social media, staring into space, or forgetting to complete tasks.


5. Employees aren’t interested in growth.

Employees who are engaged with your company are motivated to grow their skills. They will jump at the chance to participate in new projects or offer innovative ideas. If you notice your company lagging in this area, it’s possible that employees are disconnected from your mission.


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It’s important to have a happy, productive and loyal workforce. If you pick up on signs of a disengaged employee or department, it’s best to address the problem right away. Talk to your staff to find out what’s going on, and be clear about your expectations for productivity, attendance, and performance. Investing in happier employees will improve morale and directly impact your bottom line — in a good way.

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