How to Combat Employee Disengagement

employees together

Disengaged employees aren’t difficult to identify. A few of the telltale signs include: an overall lack of enthusiasm for new projects, frequent complaining, stagnant growth, lack of initiative, and an unwillingness to collaborate with team members. While the negative implications on a disengaged employee’s own career are obvious, this disengagement can have a very serious impact on a company’s productivity. If you find that your employees frequently display these behaviors, it’s time to institute immediate changes in order to keep your business growing and thriving.

Fortunately, there are very easy adjustments you can make starting today to combat employee disengagement. Below are just a few of the ways you can proactively adjust your work environment to keep employees invested, dedicated, and excited about your company:

Show you Care

Taking the time to get to know staff members on a personal level is key to demonstrating their value to the company. Try to get to know the hobbies, interests, and goals of each employee. There oftentimes exists a disconnect between upper level management and their employees. However, taking the time to ask questions will bridge this gap, allowing you to build a stronger connection with your team while also gaining valuable insight into how best to motivate each member of your staff.

Reward Creativity

Employees who go above and beyond by contributing ideas on how best to increase productivity and improve efficiency should be recognized and rewarded for their initiative. By fostering an environment that welcomes and encourages such creativity, your employees will see that their opinions are truly valued. Further, staff members are likely to remain more engaged and committed to projects that they came up with and have some role in managing. If an idea doesn’t work out quite as planned, don’t be discouraged. Instead, use it as a learning experience, applying lessons learned to future projects.

Make Team Building a Priority

In order for a team to thrive, it is essential that members understand and respect one another. By learning the skills, capabilities, and synergies of co-workers, employees are better positioned to approach projects in ways that best utilizes the individual strengths of each team member. Through the use of team building activities, you’ll build a sense of community and camaraderie among a group with a singular shared goal: the success of the company. Whether held each week, month, or as part of a specialized retreat, team building has been shown to enhance enthusiasm and productivity in the workplace. The internal connections built among co-workers will leave them more satisfied with their work environment, making those dreaded Monday mornings a bit easier to bear.

Clearly Define Expectations

If an employee is unsure of their specific responsibilities in general or for a project, maintaining excitement can be a chore. When assigning tasks, make sure you give clear and direct instructions so as to avoid any confusion around the execution and/or goals of the assignment. Also take the time to explain how each project coincides with the company’s larger goals, further demonstrating the value of each staff members’ contribution to the success of the company. Let your employees know that you’re open to and encourage questions should they require more information.

3 Ways to Facilitate Communication in the Workplace

hands in a huddle

Though the act of communication, whether through talk, text, or e-mail, may seem easy, communicating effectively requires a high level of attention and effort, particularly in the workplace. When working in teams, communicating well is crucial in order to eliminate misunderstandings and maintain a peaceful work environment. It is imperative that all team building activities and opportunities include discussions around how to cultivate strong communication among colleagues. But what can you do starting today to communicate more effectively? By utilizing the following 3 ways to facilitate communication in the workplace, your team will remain a cohesive unit equipped to complete projects, meet targets, and work productively.

Be a Good Listener

Throughout any given day, we each engage in a number of conversations. But just how closely are we listening? If you walk away from a conversation with a clearer idea of your dinner plans than your conversation partner’s message, you may need to fine-tune your listening skills.

Just like any other skill, listening takes practice. One way to improve your listening abilities is to keep a mental checklist of the important points the other person makes. When the conversation ends, try to recall as many of these points as possible. Engaging in each conversation this way will instill in you the ability to pay close attention and listen effectively so as to avoid repeat conversations or meetings.

Learn to Read Others’ Body Language

One of the most obvious ways we communicate with others is not through our words, but through our body language. How we stand, sit, move our hands, and express our faces all indicate how we’re feeling on the inside. By learning to recognize the signs and signals of body language, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively. Let’s use presentation giving as an example.

When standing in front of a room to share performance results or a personal anecdote, how do you know if you’re maintaining 100% engagement? If you find that your audience often displays the following signs, you likely have a disengaged group that needs revival:

      • Shoulders are slumped, or they’re sitting low in their chairs
      • They’re doodling on their notepads, instead of taking notes
      • Hands are fiddling with hair or clothing
      • Eyes are glazed, or gazing elsewhere around the room
              • Heads are facing downward, rarely looking up at the presenter

We all say a lot with our bodies, it’s up to you to recognize what others are trying to say.

Empathize with Others

Everyone has bad days. Whether the family dog ran away or your alarm was 30 minutes late going off in the morning, these stressors have a direct impact on our mood and ability to interact with others throughout the day. If you feel that you’ve been personally criticized or attacked unjustly by a coworker or boss, try to understand the full scope of the other’s feelings and situation before responding. It may be that they’re having an unusually bad day, and as a result taking their emotions out on others as a way to cope. Responding with equal negative emotion will only result in a further breakdown of communication. When tension has lessoned and the other person has calmed down, reach out to your coworker and revisit their criticism. You may find that their overreaction had nothing to do with your work at all.