If this year is viewed in retrospect, surely one of the words that made a lot of buzz in the corporate sector was ‘engagement’. A simple Google search of the term ‘Employee Engagement’ will throw up a lot of varied thoughts; from how methods of employee engagement are changing, to how it is done by big corporations, and how its’ very definition and objectives are changing.
But, before you jump in with sleeves folded to ‘actively’ engage your employees, you need to identify if, and how, your employees are ‘disengaged’. Turns out, this step is critical, and tougher to execute than you’d think; to lay a solid foundation for the employee engagement you want to achieve. We have put together a few telltale signs to identify if your employees or team-members are disengaged:
The frequency of excuses
Subpar work and the inability to meet deadlines is often coupled with varied excuses, blaming factors mostly outside one’s control. When somebody vehemently avoids taking responsibility of their short-comings, and refuses to acknowledge a problem to begin with, they are, consciously or subconsciously, diverting the focus from the real problem by avoiding questions regarding their work, quality and commitment. Sure every once in a while, things will not work out as planned, but if there is a consistent trend to blame others, it is going be a challenge in the future.
No Questions asked
The fact that a colleague or team member accepts the tasks given to them without questioning their objective, purpose or utility signifies an ‘I don’t care’ attitude, which if left unchecked can prove to be a big obstacle to team work.
A disengaged employee will typically be apathetic and unconcerned about the overarching goals, and will put in the least amount of effort and work required to get the job done.
Creating a safe and secure platform for questioning even the most routine procedures opens channels of engagements and makes employees feel valued.
Policing the Policy is a challenge
If you have to regularly create and enforce new policies to ensure your colleagues or employees actually do the work they are supposed to in the first place, you could be in trouble soon. When employees do not focus on their work, because they don’t want to, it should be considered the foremost sign of disengagement.
Creating policies and rules restricting break-times, or curtailing access to social media, and executing them with vigour will only be a quick-fix to the core problem of disengagement.
Requests are dishonoured
Your requests to your team for referring other people, or connecting you to certain individuals in your network, go unnoticed regularly. If employees are not engaged with the organisation actively, they will not be motivated to go above and beyond their job description to add value to the organisation. Similarly, information through memos, feedback and official communication is ignored, not followed-up or simply not considered important enough. When simple requests and routine tasks become too much to keep up with, sit up and take notice to understand the underlying problem for the same.
Withdrawal from team
Although working independently must not always be read as a sign of disengagement, but if the reason behind the same is to skip meetings, stay invisible and simply get through the day, take notice.
Isolation at work, intentional or forced, over a prolonged period of time will force even the most upbeat and optimistic employee to pull back and become disengaged, unless you reach out to them timely. Hence, make sure all your employees, or team-members are on the same page, and information doesn’t reach them in accordance to their proximity to the ‘inner circle’.
No desire for growth
Someone working well enough to deliver consistent results; must not be mistaken for being actively engaged. One might be working hard due to personal work ethic, or maybe because they don’t find the work challenging enough. In such a case, identifying lack of motivation and engagement is possible if different situations are contextually analysed.
Lack or no desire of growth or learning something new, or not taking up new initiatives, despite giving satisfactory results at the work front could be potentially dangerous.
While engaging employees will unarguably be increasingly important for organisations going forward, with a changing and evolving workforce, it becomes important that organisations do not aim to crack a ‘formula’ for achieving the same. Every organisation, owing to its unique values, vision and goals will need to work to engage its employees in a unique manner, taking into account what amounts to motivation, appreciation and engagement for them. Engaging employees in the new age will undoubtedly be tougher, and surely cannot be taken for granted. But in order to do so optimally, an understanding of how they are disengaged in the first place is essential.