How to spot a disengaged employee

If an employee is feeling demotivated at work, you can almost guarantee that you’re the last person that they’re going to tell. It may be weeks or even months before you notice that things aren’t as they should be and that you have a disengaged employee on your hands.

As well as the loss of productivity, the cost of a disengaged employee can start to rise when you consider the knock-on effect this can have the rest of your team.
So, before this becomes a major issue, be aware of the warning signs so you’ll know how to spot a disengaged employee in the future.

Regular absences
Staff take days off for ill health, that’s a given. But if you start to notice that a particular employee seems to be taking the odd day off here and there without a clear reason or without a doctor’s note then you could have a disengaged employee on your hands.

Sure, we all feel under the weather and fall victim to the odd cold, but if you suspect that these random absences have little to do with ill health and are more about the employee’s reluctance to come into the office for other reasons then talk to them to see if there’s anything you can do as an employer to help remedy the situation.

After all, there could be more behind the absences than the employee simply wanting a duvet day and it’s up to you to support them wherever possible.

Poor quality of work
From falling targets to mistakes and missed deadlines, disengaged employees often lack the motivation needed to complete the tasks assigned to them to a reasonable standard. Once performance starts slipping and is allowed to go unnoticed, then it’s only a matter of time before you start to see a serious drop in productivity.

Think about the rest of your team and how one employee’s lack of effort affects them – would you aim high if the person next to you was getting away with doing the bear minimum? Probably not.

Before branding the member of staff in question as lazy, perhaps now is the time to have a quiet word to find out exactly why this is happening. Problems at home, a disagreement with a colleague or a perceived lack of career advancement are all reasons that could lead to a disengaged employee so talk things through to get to the bottom of the problem before taking any further steps.

Communications stop
Employees that are happy at work often feel that they can approach their line managers to voice any concerns they might be having as they have confidence that you will do your best to remove any issues where possible.

Disengaged employees on the other hand shy away from any unnecessary communications with others and attempt to shrink into the background unnoticed.

Remind staff that your door is always open to them and take the time to listen to any concerns they might be having to help reduce the number of disengaged employees in your workforce.

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