According to a September 2022 Gallup report , only 32 percent of workers were actively engaged during the second quarter of the year, while actively disengaged employees increased to 18 percent.
Furthermore, millennial employees who make up 35 percent of the workforce as of 2018, value engagement above workplace perks like ping-pong tables and free coffee.
What we have to ask ourselves is what causes this level of disengagement, how it impacts the workplace, and tactics for reviving a detached employee.
What is a Disengaged Employee?
Disengaged employees tend to not feel excited about their job or experience joy at the workplace. They lack motivation and inspiration and while they may fulfill their job tasks properly, they don’t put in any extra effort to help the organization reach its goals.
Typically, disengaged employees need to be pushed to work. They also tend to be more quiet, avoid communication, and refrain from asking for performance feedback.
They are often absent, have low energy, and exhibit a bad attitude. Gossiping and cynical humor are signs of active disengagement.
What Causes Employee Disengagement?
A previously engaged employee may become disengaged for many reasons, although a lack of autonomy, purpose, and meaning are top of the list.
Employees who feel that their work doesn’t matter may indicate that the organization’s mission doesn’t align with the employee’s personal vision of what creates purpose and meaning in life.
Others reason to employee feels bad or unmotivated are:
Lack of growth opportunities.
Poor training and inadequate resources.
Hybrid work policies, including being forced back into an office setting.
Poor leadership and management.
A lack of transparency by leadership.
Toxic workplace culture.
Lack of autonomy or work flexibility.
How Can You Effectively Re-Engage Employees?
Re-engaging employees can be challenging. Don't be angry with them, trying to understand them has a better chance of success.
There are two things companies can do to help employees feels better with their works: 👏
- Talk to them in a psychologically safe environment and express your concern that things seem to have changed with them.
- Ask them if they are okay and if there’s something else going on in their lives that has impacted their work.
If the problem continues and its inside the organization, there are few things to do:
- Very often simply asking, “What could change at work for you to be excited again about working here?”
- Explore giving your employees opportunities to take on projects that stimulate them so that they can enjoy what they do and perform to the best of their capabilities.
- Be sure to give employees autonomy with an open door policy of support without micromanaging them.
- Make it clear that if they are successful, more opportunities can come their way.
- Also consider letting them take professional development classes if they love to learn. Professional development is important to continuing career growth and helping employees reach their full potential.
Finally, give your employees an opportunity to create and explore in their own way, obviously following the companies policy. If you do that, they may quickly re-engage as they create an environment in which they will thrive.