For an organization to enjoy sustained success, it must have on board highly productive, enthusiastic workers and teams who will drive the business with vigour and passion and give their best to the organization. Most organizations strive to attract the best talent and retain them by offering the best incentives, benefits or anything that may differentiate them from the competition. Despite all this, an organization may find, at some point, that some of its employees are “disengaged”.
A recent study by workplace solution provider Steelcase along with research firm IPSOS to measure dimensions of employee engagement found that over a third of employees worldwide are disengaged!
So… What Exactly Is Employee Disengagement?
An ‘engaged employee’ is one who is involved with his job, enthusiastic and highly productive and contributes significantly to the organization. In reverse, a ‘disengaged employee’ is one who is unhappy with his job, doing just enough to get by and adding little value if any, to the organization. The most toxic is probably an “actively disengaged employee” who may be actually working against the organization he works for!
Why do employees disengage themselves from the organisation?
The reasons could be many or specific to a particular employee. It could be the lack of effective leadership, the monotony of work, insufficient monetary benefits, or not getting along with coworkers or bosses.
Almost all organizations experience low engagement levels at some point, bringing down productivity, profitability and hitting the bottom line hard!
What Happens When An Organization Faces Employee Disengagement?
In a TimesJobs survey, it was found that during the disengagement phase their staff had seen 40% higher absenteeism, 50% more accidental cases, and 75% more errors and defects in the daily tasks.
Whereas, with improvement in engagement levels organizations have enjoyed a rise of over 50% in productivity!
Employee disengagement can give out very subtle signs, at least in the beginning. Organisations have to be vigilant before it starts impacting their bottom line!
Don’t Ignore These Signs Of A Disengaged Employee!
So how do you recognize the signs of disengagement? Here are some of the sure signs of disengagement among your employees!
1. Lack Of Enthusiasm:
Disengaged employees do not put in extra efforts to improve their work productivity or performance. They try and get by doing minimal work required for their positions and may avoid development opportunities or new challenges at work.
They lack enthusiasm and initiative and have no desire for growth. They seem disinterested in their performance and its role in the organization’s success.
2. Avoiding Social Interactions:
Disengaged employees often like to work alone, and avoid interaction and collaboration with their co-workers. They start to minimize their social interactions. They may avoid company social functions or outings and not participate in meetings.
Social withdrawal could be one of the early signs of disengagement from the organization, even though the employee’s individual performance may continue to be good.
3. Poor Productivity:
Notice a decline in productivity of an erstwhile good performer? He may be missing deadlines or submitting below-par assignments.
Or you may notice him doing bare minimum work that his position requires and not really putting in efforts towards creative or innovative thinking.
4. Frequent Absenteeism:
A disengaged employee may be frequently absent from work or take long extended breaks during the day. He may walk in late or leave early, resulting in incomplete assignments and overpaid wages.
5. Need For Motivation:
A disengaged employee requires frequent pushing and motivation to contribute.
One way to motivate down-and-out employees would be to reward them appropriately for their achievements - big or small! This would nip the problem in the bud, and ensure a surge in productivity!
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For unique trophies, plaques, awards and other keepsakes to ensure that your employees are engaged, and happy!
6. Frequent Excuses:
While all of us complain about our jobs or bosses at some time, excessive grumbling or complaining about the job or the organization should definitely ring warning bells.
Disengaged employees do not take ownership of their responsibilities, rather they prefer to pass on the blame to others.
They may make frequent excuses for shoddy work or their inability to perform.
Disengaged employees may show an overly pessimistic attitude towards work, seniors or the organization itself.
Their negative actions may create similar ripples over their own or other teams, making it toxic and energy draining.
8. Lack Of Trust:
Disengaged employees do not trust their superiors or the top management. They do not open up or share issues and generally have a resentment towards the senior management.
9. Reduced Morale:
Frequent complaining and excessive negativity by one or few disengaged employees may affect the morale of the team and consequently that of the whole organization, even that of engaged employees.
10. Reduced Employee Referrals:
You may notice a significant fall in the number of employee referrals for open positions within the company.
Is it the negative talk of some disengaged employees that is discouraging candidates to apply for you?
11. Increase In Employee Turnover:
Are many of your best workers on their way out?
This is a sure sign that your employees are disengaged and dissatisfied and that the company is not doing enough to retain talent.
12. Loss Of Business:
Have your long-term and trusted customers been withdrawing lately? It might be that a disengaged employee or team has impacted the way they speak to customers and outside parties, costing the company its reputation and clients, ultimately leading to loss of business!
It is important for organizations to keep a watch out for signs of employee disengagement at all times, as it can have a direct bearing on its business and brand name. To bring back the enthusiasm and productiveness of disengaged employees, organizations have to first understand the reasons for disengagement and work on sustainable solutions.
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