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7 Signs Your Employee is Disengaged

7 Signs Your Employee is Disengaged
The term employee engagement sounds like one of those HR buzz words which fade in and out of popularity over time.

However, the concept behind it is not a new one, and the impact it can have on an organisations bottom line results in terms of profitably, efficiency and revenue generation should not be underestimated.

So, how do we define it? Employee Engagement ultimately is a level of an employee's commitment and connection to the organisation. Two keys words commitment and connection, both are critical to engagement. Commitment in not only showing up, but giving their absolute all, and connection not just to their job, but to a cause or calling bigger than them, their roles or perhaps even this organisation. Connection to the leaders, to their colleagues and to the important part their role plays in achieving something bigger.

To put it simply, engagement refers to the extent to which an employee is willing to go above and beyond, commit that extra bit and throw all of their energy and efforts into working, improving efficiencies, creating new ideas and achieving goals for the organisation. It doesn't mean that an employee works extra hours all the time, or that they do a role which is twice their level of responsibility for half the price.

So why does it matter? Simple! Studies have shown an engaged workforce can have a positive impact on bottom line performance by increasing organisational profitability by up to 21% (Gallup 2017). Conversely, a disengaged workforce can decrease efficiency resulting in a reduction in income of up to 32.7% (Schmidt 2009).

Above all else, one of the most outstanding insight all of the research gives us is the impact disengaged workers have on the team around them. It has been suggested that it takes around four fully engaged workers to counteract the impact of just one disengaged worker.

So how do you know of you have a disengaged employee, or in fact a disengaged team of employees? Here are 7 signs that you may have engagement issues in your team:

1) There is a change or a break from their routine.
Once your employee would always arrive at work 10 -15 minutes before they were due to start, they would settle themselves in, make a coffee and be working away before their scheduled start time. Either suddenly, or gradually over time that changes. They start to arrive at work closer and closer to their start time, they barely make it to their desk by the time they are due to start work and perhaps are even a few minutes late regularly;

2) They withdraw from their usual workplace connections
Here you will see an employee who was once quite social and enjoyed the team interactions start to withdraw. They start having lunch on their own, instead of with their colleagues, they will make excuses as to why they need to take a break at a different time. They may decline outside of work social events such as Friday drinks or team dinners. They less interactive in the workplace, and don't get involved in the chatter and banter that they once did;

3) Less focused and more distracted
If you notice your employees spending more and more time looking at their phones, scrolling social media and taking personal calls, it may not mean that they are being intentionally lazy or slacking off, this is often a sign of disengagement, especially if there is a change in behaviour and patters around this kind of thing.

4) Deadlines aren't met as often
Your once diligent, deadline driven and reliable employee starts to miss deadline, the quality of the work slips and the shine is just gone from their work. These are all signs that engagement is in decline. Initially it may appear as though they are just having an off week, or you explain it away as though the workload was unreasonable, or someone else let them down, but as the pattern continues, even in the slightest way, you'll begin to see that they don't bounce back to where they used to be.

5) Their demeanour has changed
This can be a little harder to spot but it shows up in ways such as their interest in projects and the workplace generally. They stop asking questions, they no longer show an active interest, they don't make suggestions, come up with new ideas or support a colleague who has a brilliant idea during a team meeting. They are there physically but mentally they have sort of checked out.

6) Communication becomes frustrating or non existent
The regular project updates, the questions to ensure they are on track, the transparency in relation to detail, challenges, wins and loses all seem to slow down and even stop when an employee is becoming disengaged. Quite often it goes unnoticed initially because it seems like such a subtle change but in hindsight this is one that becomes quite obvious to many leaders.

7) Absenteeism
This is potentially, in my opinion, the number one tell tail sign that you have an engagement issue. If you have one individual employee, or entire teams, who are consistently using all of their sick leave, and as soon as there is another day accrued they are again off, this is a sure fire sign of disengagement. If you have absenteeism issues in your business you undoubtedly also have engagement issues. It's an easy one to spot and can very quickly escalate to frustration and a desire to manage performance from the leaders and managers perspective, but underlying the apparent 'performance' failing is almost certainly a highly disengaged employee.

All of these seven signs can be very subtle in themselves, and not all disengaged employees will display all seven, but identifying any of them early can assist in being able to potentially re engage the employee into the team and the vision of the business.

For ideas on how you can go about effectively reengaging the team check out our blog on great engagement strategies here >>> 8 ways to increase employee engagement <<<


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Author:Kristy-Lee Billett
About: Kristy-Lee has worked in the field of HR and recruitment since 1999. She holds undergraduate qualifications in Psychology, a Masters in Human Resource Management, is an Professional Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute.
Connect via:LinkedIn

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