With almost all workplaces quickly pivoting to remote work in 2020, and many workplaces keeping at least a hybrid work arrangement moving forward, it’s more important than ever to ensure employees are kept engaged. At the same time, it’s now easier to disengage from work due to the lack of proximity.
So how do we solve this?
In this post, we’ll provide some tips for how to identify disengaged employees and the root problems that are causing them to disengage, as well as how to address those problems. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.
How to Identify Disengaged Employees
According to Forbes, signs your employees are disengaged include:
- Poor communication
- Breaks from routine
- An apathetic approach
- A decline in work quality (e.g. missed deadlines)
- Exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficiency
- Lack of participation
While many of these can apply to a remote workforce the same way they would an in-person one, there are some additional signs you can look for when employees are working remotely.
For example, when it comes to communication, if you notice a remote employee’s communication on company messaging channels, product management apps or via email has slowed or stopped completely, they might be disengaged.
A decline in a remote employee’s participation in group activities, chats, or meetings—e.g. they attend but speak only when spoken to with minimal and cursory responses—can also be indicative of decreasing engagement.
What you really need to be wary of is when an employee’s passive disinterest evolves into active disengagement. When this happens, you’ll notice that their attitude and interactions are generally negative in tone; oftentimes, that’s because they’re upset with the current status quo—and they want to be sure others know it.
How to Identify the Root Causes of Disengagement
Now that you know the signs of disengagement, how can you get to the root of what’s causing it so that you can address it before it becomes a serious issue?
Here are some of the most common reasons people start to disengage:
- Lacking Trust and Respect: This occurs when employees lose confidence in the character or competence of the people they work with.
- Uninspiring Leadership: Employees may feel there’s not enough focus on the essentials of people management.
- Lacking a Sense of Personal Value: This may manifest in what the individual believes is unfair pay, a lack of recognition, an excessive workload, or a lack of resources.
- Unfulfilling Relationships: This may be a result of poor communication, a lack of feedback, and/or difficulty collaborating with others.
- No Purpose and/or Meaning: This may occur when someone believes there’s a lack of learning and development in the workplace, or they’re not seeing “company values” in practice.
- Lacking Belief: Oftentimes this is when people feel stuck and/or aren’t seeing growth in their current role.
Once You Know the Causes, Here’s How to Address Them
Unfortunately, when it comes to re-engaging these employees, it’s not an easy feat. More money and benefits won’t necessarily solve the problem. Since disengagement happens over time, re-engagement will as well.
You’ll need to start by addressing and solving the issue—most likely one of the six mentioned above—that’s making them disengage in the first place. To do so, sit down with the employee and have an open conversation with them; be open to their feedback and show your willingness to make a change. Employee engagement surveys are also a great tool for when you need to take the temperature of your overall workplace.
When it comes time to employ a solution, a mentoring program can solve many of the aforementioned reasons why people disengage. Why? Because it provides employees with what they’re craving: belonging. Mentorship is all about connecting people and building a company’s tribe. What’s more, it addresses the root cause of company attrition and disengagement by organically connecting people and providing them with bespoke learning opportunities for their individual needs.
Moving forward, you can continue to use mentoring to also maintain engagement rather than simply solve disengagement.
Building a culture of mentoring can be a sustainable way of addressing the problem of disengaged employees and prevent it from happening moving forward. It can also save your company a lot of money. After all, the average cost of rehiring and training a new employee after someone leaves is $23,000. In fact, one of our clients has found that their mentoring program routinely saves them $500,000 a year by measurably improving their overall employee attrition rate.
Connect your people in order to solve disengagement, improve overall engagement, and keep your people from going elsewhere. Learn how a mentoring program can help.