Struggling with disengaged employees on your team?

It’s always fun and exciting to go through the onboarding process of a new employee. Both you, as the employer, and the newest member of team are excited, things are fresh and new, and the future of working together is bright. Of course the hope is that those feelings will continue, it will remain a good fit for all and everyone will benefit from the partnership.

However, sometimes the honeymoon phase wears off and employees can become disengaged. Sure, part of that is natural and happens in all aspects of life. But as Jon Gordon refers to negative or disengaged employees as “energy vampiresâ€, they can be detrimental to your team, clients, and goals as a company. This negativity can be toxic and needs to be addressed sooner than later.

So what can you do as a leader to prevent and recover from disengagement on your team? Here are a few tips we’ve compiled that may be helpful if you’re noticing the morale and engagement heading south.

First, defining and understanding disengagement is important. It can be cause by things such as lack of:

  • Communication
  • Recognition
  • Trust
  • Flexibility
  • Teamwork
  • Autonomy
  • Support

Next, recognizing and identifying when an employee is disengaged can be done by:

  • Poor performance
  • Missed deadlines
  • Lack of interest in development
  • Isolation from coworkers
  • Increased use of PTO

Then, it’s time to approach the employee:

  • Address the issue head on, skip the small talk but be certain to listen well, ask questions and document conversations
  • Discovering that individual’s motivation and what makes them “tickâ€
  • Analyzing where engagement was lost and why
  • Identifying adequate skills and a plan to work to their strengths, even if it’s a change in their role
  • Come to a mutual agreement and commitment to action

The final step in this process is to work together towards a solution that will correct the problem by:

  • Create a specific and realistic development plan that includes your investment in them
  • Set goals and hold each other accountable
  • Encourage participation with the team, while keeping the personal plan confidential
  • Give consistent feedback
  • Recognize improved behavior and performance
  • Cheer them on to their potential and don’t give up!