Do you have employees who are disengaged from everyone in the office?
These willingly disengaged workers mostly ignore their supervisors and their colleagues—too detached to be loyal, too indifferent to be disloyal. They sit at their desks, doing their own thing, wanting to be left to it. They’re counting down the clock, eager for the moment they can leave the loneliness of the office for the distractions of home.
Employers tolerate these workers because in some cases they get the job done, but that tolerance can have other unwanted side effects, like telegraphing to everyone else in the office that such apathy is acceptable. In effect, employers announce to the company that not everyone needs to be united behind the company’s core values. So what can you do?
Here are 4 ways to turn your disengaged employees into some of your best team members.
Address the issue in a meeting with the employee
Talk about your expectations and the attitude you’ve perceived from them. Explain how their attitude is perceived by others and the effect this has on the company. Tell them you’d like to see more engagement from them going forward. Be ready to listen. They may open up to you about why they’ve been so distant, setting up a dialogue on how you can both work to help solve the issue. But if they don’t share what’s behind their attitude, don’t push the issue.
Affirm the employee’s contribution to the company’s success
The employee may feel that their work has no real value. Employees often become more engaged when they can see that even their menial tasks have meaning and relevance—that all of what they do matters. Draw clear connections between how their everyday tasks map to the larger company goals. That will give them a better picture of how the work they do on a daily basis makes a difference.
Ask the employee for their input
What are their career goals? What do they think of the company mission and values? What would they do differently? Listen to and consider what they have to say.
Your employees should know that their work and ideas are appreciated and valued. An open door policy with management can be a great boon by encouraging employees to bring concerns and proposals to their supervisor or anyone on the leadership team.
Build a community in the office—employees united by a common purpose and shared set of beliefs, values, and goals.
Determine what courses of action you are willing to take if a disengaged employee has no interest in improving
If all that fails, they simply may not be in the right role. Consider reassigning them to a position that plays better to their strengths. If the employee still won’t take your concerns seriously, they may just not be right for your company, so letting them go may be the best course of action. But if you can help bring a disengaged employee into the office community, everyone benefits.