Disengaged employees are a danger to any business. Not only are they simply not interested in the work that they are doing, but just one disengaged employee can influence the moods and opinions of those around them, which reflects upon the business as a whole. Disengagement can travel to other employees as the person becomes more verbal about what they are not happy with at the company or the like. 

This can result in the employee quitting and the business having to recoup the losses of training someone new and putting them into the business. This is why it is so important that managers and business owners know how to spot a disengaged employee as well as how they can fix this!

10 Signs of a Disengaged Employee

There are several signs of a disengaged employee that managers, co-workers and business owners need to be on the lookout for. Here are a few of the more common signs that need to be watched for:

  1. Has the employee suddenly gone quiet? While you may be dealing with an introvert, if you have an employee that is normally quite vocal and they go quiet, it could be a sign that they are no longer happy with their work.
  2. The quality of work is dropping. While everyone has a day or two off from time to time, if you look at the quality of work over a series of months and it has declined steadily, it shows that the work quality is dropping.
  3. Has the employee started to lash out at others? Whether they make condescending comments or are becoming flat out rude, it could be a sign that they no longer have their head and heart into the game. They can be angry for a number of reasons, and you will need to deal with this.
  4. Are they taking breaks more frequently? Many times, when an employee becomes disengaged they spend more time in the break room drinking coffee or eating a snack rather than doing work.
  5. Are they have issues with getting to work on time? Those who show up late time and time again without a real reason are often those who simply no longer care about the work that they are doing.
  6. Are they leaving work early? The same can be said of those who are early to leave work more frequently. It is almost as if they cannot wait to leave, and this is a sign that there is a problem.
  7. Are they calling in “sick” more often than they used to? This could be a neon sign that there is a problem. 
  8. Are they shrinking new responsibilities? This shows that they have no interest in the work they are doing, thus they feel no inclination to take on new responsibilities.
  9. Do they have no opinion on changes that are talked about in company meetings? They may seem as though they are simply filling a seat rather than actually listening.
  10. Do you find that they are talking to other employees about how much they hate the job? This is a huge sign that they are disengaged, but it can also lead others to start feeling this way as well.

How to Fix a Disengaged Employee

Since retaining employees is less expensive than having to hire new, it is important that you know how to fix a disengaged employee. There are several ways that you can do this that are going to help all your employees to become more satisfied with the job that they have!

  1. Offer a reward for staying with the company. For example, offer rewards for every year or five years that the person stays with the company. And make sure that these rewards are not something simply like a $20 gift card to a restaurant. Making them substantial such as a raise!
  2. Offer educational benefits to employees who have been with the company for five or more years. Let them expand their education so that they can move up in the company. This can help an employee to feel as though they are not working in a dead end job, as they can change positions when they have the right education.
  3. Take inventory of your operations! Operational Digital Transformation is key to employees’ success and in turn business’ success.
  4. Encourage disengaged employees to talk. You can do this through having the right employee communication software or even during meetings. Let them speak and don’t interrupt, carefully listen. You want them to feel as though they are being heard.
  5. After hearing out the employee, make changes that are going to align with the problems they are feeling. Of course, stay within reason. 
  6. Give your thanks to the employee. Many times when an employee becomes disengaged, they simply feel as though no one cares about what they do or that no one really expects them to do the job. Saying thank you when they provide their work, shows that you do care and that they are appreciated.
  7. Consider flexible working hours! This is a great way to please all employees. If you notice that not everyone is able to do the typical 9 to 5, offer more flexible work hours as long as they meet the work hours that are set for that week. With this being said, you can also try a few work at home days throughout the month, as this allows workers to stay at home, do their work and be in their PJs if they so wish.
  8. Offer better benefits to employees. For example, offer a better retirement plan, health benefits or even days off throughout the year. You can offer a mental health day each month that employees can take when they are feeling overwhelmed.
  9. Let workers know that they are being seen. No one wants to feel like they are simply a number. They want to feel as though they are providing work that is needed. Sometimes just simply letting a disengaged employee know they are valued is just what they need to keep up with the work they need to do.

For businesses and managers, noticing a disengaged employee and trying to rectify the situation is the only way to reverse the situation. Managers need to keep a keen eye on employees and encourage everyone step forward when they are not happy with how the job is going.

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