4 Steps to Handle Disengaged Employees

4 Steps to Handle Disengaged Employees
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You Can Handle Disengaged Employees Better
Does it seem as though some of your employees have simply checked out?  For whatever reason (and there are many), disengaged employees have not bought into the company direction, fight the desired workplace culture, lack motivation, appear frustrated or, worse, bad-talk the team or company.

Our organizational culture assessment data and studies show that as many as two-thirds of America’s workforce are at least barely or moderately disengaged.  You can imagine the negative impact on the productivity.  The good news is that there is a way to handle disengaged employees.

Steps Toward Better Employee Engagement
Here is what you can do to improve employee engagement and, in so doing, your team’s productivity.

  1. Find the Disengaged Employees
    First you need to run an employee engagement survey to identify your disengaged workers and the reasons behind their lack of advocacy, discretionary effort, and loyalty. If you do not have correlated survey data, you will typically know disengaged employees by their disappointing performance, their lack of involvement in team meetings, and their waning interest in learning how to do things better.

    It is important to understand that even your once highly motivated employees can be disaffected if they become frustrated by the continuing low performance of team members or the lack of challenge or career progression in their jobs.

    If you notice that employees are taking more than the usual days off, it’s possible they are checking out and scouting for another job that is more fulfilling.

  2. Decide Who Should Be Actively Retained
    Not all disengaged employees are worth actively retaining because not everyone is a good cultural fit for their company, manager, or job. It depends on whether they have the ability and the desire to improve and if they fit into the company’s direction and culture.

    For those who fit and who are eager to work toward a solution to their disengagement or substandard performance, there is hope for them and for you.

    For those who reject your help or who clearly do not fit strategically or culturally, it’s probably better for everyone if you compassionately assist them in finding a better situation.

  3. Identify the Key Reasons for their Disengagement
    Now it’s time for a heart-to-heart for those who you want to retain. If they believe that you are genuine in your desire to understand what’s going wrong, your disengaged employees should be open with the reasons for their lack of employee motivation.

    What had they hoped to achieve? What’s standing in the way? Are you offering enough management support, challenges, and development opportunities?

  4. Create a Retention Plan for Your Top Talent
    Once the reasons for disengagement are clear for each employee, you can begin to correct the problem. As manager, work with each disengaged employee to create a targeted and individualized engagement and retention plan that focuses on their talents, interests, and what they specifically need to be highly engaged and productive.

    Sadly, this is where most managers and companies fall short.  They ask for feedback, analyze it, and then have weak or non-existent follow through.  Following through is worth the effort.

    Employers who take meaningful employee engagement actions are 12-times more likely to engage employees.  While this seems like common sense, 80% of employees feel like meaningful change from employee engagement surveys does not happen consistently.

The Bottom Line
All too often, employee disengagement is traced back to a manager who is not proficient at performance feedback, making personal connections, providing meaningful development opportunities, sharing information, and setting clear goals and accountabilities for the team.  If you want to retain your top talent, make sure that you find disengaged employees, prioritize who should be actively retained, identify the key reasons for their disengagement, and create a retention plan.

To learn more about how to increase employee engagement, download the Employee Engagement Mistakes: Are You Aimlessly Engaging Your Employees?

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