Disengagement at work can get to the best of us. The reasons for the dissatisfaction and boredom among your workforce may be myriad and the manifestation may be varied, but one thing remains – they are not healthy for your organization.
It may surprise you to know that the cost of a disengaged workforce is up to 550 Billion$, according to a 2017 study by Forbes. Certainly, an amount for CEO's to sit up and take notice. A survey has revealed that the average employee engagement score across Singapore is just 47%, below the global average of 53%.
While employee engagement is hard to quantify, disengagement is somewhat simpler to pinpoint. It’s always better to anticipate and be equipped to deal with early symptoms of disengagement than after, when you have lost your chances of retaining a great employee. And only when you are able to detect signs early on can you take necessary actions in time. This brings us to the next question – What are the earliest signs that show up?
Clear-cut signals of a drop in the quality of work include missing deadlines with shoddy output. It could mean inefficient time management, maybe due to an increased workload but if it occurs time and again it can indicate disinterest. Especially, when an employee had been consistently good at their job and there has been no change in what their job entails, then take note. You’ll notice that errors keep cropping up in their work. Clearly, their mind is somewhere else and their heart is not in their work anymore.
What happens when there’s a loss of excitement at work and you no longer look forward to the day ahead? A demotivated employee will show a lack of care, whether it’s towards their work or towards their organization. The disinterest will be in the form of them coming late to the office often. There’ll be an increase in the times when they can’t wait to rush out of the office at the stroke of the clock. Then there will be those who are just getting by, doing the bare minimum so that they no longer have to spend unnecessary time at work. Therefore, they walk in late and leave early. Absenteeism in the form of sudden leaves or recurrent leaves is yet another tell-tale sign that shows that an employee is dissatisfied at work.
Shirking work leading to decreased productivity
Are they never in their seat when you need them? Have their coffee and lunch breaks become unusually long or they are hanging around the copier, more often than not? If you answered yes to more than one, then you have a disengaged employee at hand. Basically, they’ll do anything to spend their time procrastinating and not working. It can range from running errands, encouraging unnecessary discussions to whiling the time away on the internet to taking long breaks and over-socializing at work.
Lack of excitement
Engaged employees thrive in a challenging environment and they are constantly on the lookout for opportunities where they can grow. They are also more likely to take ownership of their work and are active when it comes to contributing to the organization. When you spot recurring instances of employees not participating in office activities like workshops, seminars etc. they no longer are keen to invest in the growth, either of the company or themselves while at work. Even when achievements and appreciation no longer push them progress, that’s when you know it’s a problem you need to address.
It’s only after careful observation of the actions, over a period of time can you be sure if you are reading them correctly. Once you are certain, communicate. But before going ahead, make an assessment if you as an organization have been able to provide the necessary environment for employees to thrive. Then talk to the employees to get to the root of the problem and to know where the dissatisfaction is stemming from, so that you can take necessary steps to overcome it. And, most importantly, come from a place of non-judgement and understanding. Only when you are genuinely concerned with their struggles, what is affecting and acting as roadblocks to their happiness can you truly begin to help them.