We all have our off days, our slumps that keep us from a strong performance in the workplace. Occasional disengagement at work is natural and unavoidable. But, the challenge comes when employees are actively disengaged in the company every day. Not only is this detrimental to an employee’s productivity, but disengagement can be toxic to the rest of your team. This kind of negativity, especially at the top, can trickle down and lead to low morale overall.
Sadly, this kind of disengagement seems to be the workplace norm - according to a 2015 Gallup poll, just a third of American employees feel actively engaged in their workplace. How can a workplace address this issue and boost engagement to be an exception the rule? Here are 3 tips you can easily integrate into your workplace to combat disengagement:
1. Provide Regular Constructive Feedback
Allowing time for feedback helps create an open dialogue with your employees. When a team member isn’t sure of his or her performance or doesn’t feel encouraged, there’s a good chance disengagement will follow.
By instituting more regularly scheduled feedback (not just a yearly employee performance review), you can better gauge the satisfaction of an employee’s day-to-day, as well as provide input for their current work while exploring their growth in the future. This can be as simple as grabbing a coffee with a coworker, or a half hour check-ins once a month. The key is to engage with employees before they lose morale, before they are uncertain in their performance.
Giving regular constructive feedback both boosts morale and improves employee performance, making it a win-win for the company and employees.
2. Encourage Career Growth
Stagnation and disengagement in the workplace are closely linked. When employees no longer see a viable path to growth within a role, they tend to check out. In addition to feedback, encouraging personal growth can lead to higher engagement in a position.
No matter what level an employee is within a company, they should be expected to engage in some kind of continued education or learn new skills that inform their position. Continued education is easier said than done, but providing subsidies or a flexible schedule so employees can take advantage of learning opportunities can help teammates feel invested and engaged in their role.
3. Engage with the Engaged
While it’s easy to worry about the nearly 2/3 of American employees who are not actively engaged in the workplace, don’t underestimate the other 1/3 of employees who are advocates for your workplace. Take time to talk with these super performers: What excites them about their roles? What sets them apart from less engaged coworkers? They may be able to highlight what you’re already doing well, and shed light on future improvements.
Also, you can’t be everywhere at all times, so working with these employees to help combat disengagement with other coworkers can be essential. As previously mentioned, low morale is toxic, but positivity can be contagious. Celebrate the engaged coworker, and in turn, celebrate the small acts of engagement other teammates display. Taking time out for recognition can significantly boost engagement. Remember, sometimes all a disengaged employee needs is acknowledgement.
Disengagement is natural, understand that it happens in most workplaces, to the majority of employees. What matters is what you do after you recognize the issue. Many managers become frustrated instead of dialoguing with coworkers or actively combating engagement issues. Employing strategies that stave off disengagement in the long term can make for a more hospitable and productive workplace.
Is employee engagement low at your organization? Get them excited about the workplace by offering them career training and development. The most effective way to improve your employees' skills and take their careers to the next level is through individualized, personal instruction.