As much as we would love for it to be the case, Employees will not always be engaged.
It is better to find out if they are before they leave a hole behind in your organization without you being prepared for it.
Here are 9 Telling Signs Your Employee is Disengaged
Your Employee provides frequent excuses for why their work is late or their production isn't up-to-par.
Is your employee consistently making decisions on why their work isn’t up to the standards you have for your team? This may be a sign that they are becoming disengaged. It may not be active disengagement where they would cause problems, but the additional work needed to pick up the slack will negatively impact the rest of the team.
What Can I Do: Take the time to sit down with this employee to identify what is really going on. If they don’t get the work they are doing or are disengaged, it may be time to look for a new position within your company or outside that better fits their skills.
Your Employee takes single PTO days multiple weeks in a row (a classic indicator that there's a job search underway)
Taking a single day of PTO every week could be a sign that something is going on with your employee and it is a classic indicator that someone is looking for another role.
What Can I Do: Keep an eye on how many weeks in a row this is happening if you have insight to how often this employee is taking time off. Before confronting the Employee about the possibility of looking for another role, take a look at LinkedIn to see if there is any more activity that could be a sign they are looking to move on. Working directly then with the Employee would be the next move. (More on that later)
Your Employee stops being a team player
Does it seem as if your Employee is actively trying to work on their own or cause problems within teams? This could be another telling sign that they are disengaged.
What Can I Do: To get additional information, it would be wise to work directly with the team or peers of the Employee. They should be able to give you feedback, if they have not already reached out to you about this person. It is important to tackle this type of situation head on because it is impacting the work the team is doing.
Your Employee recently started updating their LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is a great resource to use to find other jobs in today’s market, which is why updating profiles is another telling sign an Employee may be disengaged. Note: this would only be the case if your company did not have an initiative/ career development practice asking people to update their profiles.
What Can I Do: If you have the ability to run recruiting searches or having connections in the recruiting space, you can identify if this person is flagged as looking for a new role or has been reaching out to people in the industry. At this point, it would be time to have a one on one discussion to identify the best way to move forward.
Your Employee lies about the status of their work
When your Employee lies about the status of their work or any other thing about their work, this should be a red flag.
What Can I Do: When you find out the person has been lying about their work, have a conversation with the immediately before any other issues come from their efforts.
Your Employee has difficulty with their manager or has had multiple managers in a short period of time
Is this person a known tough person for managers to deal with? If this has just started being the case recently, this would be a red flag indicating there is a potential actively disengaged employee on your hands.
What Can I Do: Get data and feedback before meeting with the employee. Gather any information on the times they have been difficult and what everyone is saying. Then, have a discussion with the person one on one or with someone else as support for you in the room. This needs to be handled immediately.
Your Employee lacks enthusiasm for their job
It is extremely noticeable when someone is not enthusiastic about their job and is just their for the paycheck. This is a clear sign that they are disengaged with their role at minimum.
What Can I Do: When you are not completely sure what the reason is for this, it is important to follow the 4 Steps you should take when an Employee is disengaged.
Your Employee has had a close friend at work leave the company
This is not a stand alone reason for someone to be disengaged, but it is a telling sign that disengagement may be coming soon if it hasn’t already. Relationships are extremely important and when one is not available for an Employee, this could throw them off completely.
What Can I Do: If you find this employee still wants to be with your company, help them find a new close friend that will be able to fill the void or use other ways to drive engagement.
Your Employee lacks initiative, are comfortable with status quo, and exhibit no desire to grow.
When the Employee does not care to change from “the way things are now”, they will start to be more and more disengaged as changes come up within your organization. The negativity will start to increase and leak into their relationships as well. This is an important Employee to understand.
What Can I Do: Everyone has a reason to be motivated; money, power, relationship, and others. It is important to figure out what motivates this person before the disengagement grows. Utilizing one on one communication with this person, figure out a plan to get them back to being excited about growing in their role.
Bringing it all together:
Understanding these telling signs of disengagement in your organization will give you a leg up on being able to handle each unique situation. After just a few times of seeing these signs, and mitigating the issues, it will become a superpower you can bring to your team to increase the overall engagement of the team.
Go Forth and Grow Happiness, my friend.
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