5 Signs Your Employees are Disengaged and What You Can Do to Help

Written By Chris Maslin


Employee Engagement

5 Signs Your Employees are Disengaged and What You Can Do to Help

Different than employee satisfaction or happiness, employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to his or her organization and its goals. It’s a commitment that matters. From the service industry to advertising, healthcare to accounting, employee engagement impacts productivity, turnover rates and ultimately, profitability. And the fact of the matter is, it has the power to make or break the overall health of your organization. But with only 25% of employees in the workforce today engaged, companies everywhere are suffering. In fact, disengaged employees cost companies somewhere between a whopping $450 and $500 billion every year.

The numbers are clear—there’s a lot riding on employee engagement, which is why it’s crucial to keep your employees healthy. But how can you tell if they’re not? Here are 5 signs your employees might be disengaged and what you can do to help them.

1. Absenteeism

There are plenty of reasons why employees might not show at work. From the common cold to family emergencies, absenteeism happens. But when unplanned days off occur more often than not, it might be a sign your employee is feeling less than engaged. If you notice a pattern, plan on having a caring but casual conversation with the employee to ask if everything is okay. If it’s not, ask what you can do to help keep them coming back.

2. Lack of Participation

Disengaged employees who don’t fall prey to absenteeism might find a different way to avoid being present by going quiet. A lack of interest in meetings and conversations, or teamwork and culture, might be a sign that you need to find out what’s going on behind the scenes. If it turns out disengagement is to blame—and the person isn’t dealing with a different issue—ensure they have a reason to care about their work by setting meaningful, measurable goals. It also never hurts to give them a role model and of course, celebrate success.

3. Inefficiency

When employees are burned out, they become disengaged—and inefficient. Well-being plays a huge role in how well employees work. And if they’re feeling underappreciated and stressed, chances are, it’ll show. If you notice a star-performer isn’t churning out the work they once were, find out why. Maybe they need a much-needed break, or someone to share their workload with. Whatever the problem, encourage them to reach out with anything they might need to recover and get back in the game.

4. Rudeness

We all have our days, but when a typically polite person becomes curt with coworkers or clients, all signs point to disengagement. If it appears an employee is going out of their way to be inconsiderate and thoughtless, or simply isn’t trying anymore, offer up a conversation in which they’re free to be frank. Once they air their grievances, come to a solution—but be clear, rudeness at work isn’t acceptable.

5. Apathy

A big sign you’ve got an employee who isn’t feeling great about his or her current work situation? Apathy. If you notice someone displaying a lack of commitment to the job or an unwillingness to be held accountable, confront the situation head on. Maybe the person doesn’t realize their attitude has changed, or maybe they need some additional encouragement. Once you find out what’s going on, you’ll be able to tackle the issue and determine what needs to be done in order to fix the problem. 

At the end of the day, employees who actually care about their work and their company are the backbone of a healthy organization. And there are ways you can help ensure they’re truly engaged. Attend our Culture of Engagement workshop and develop a plan of action tailored to your organization.