We’ve written before that happy, engaged workers are critical to company success. The opposite is true for those that are disaffected. But since many workers aren’t willing to complain, you may need to watch for warnings of disengagement. If you know there’s a problem, you can address it, so it’s wise to keep your eyes open for these signs that trouble may be brewing…
[title size=”2″]#1 Clock Watching[/title]
If your employee works on a factory floor or at a checkout, arriving and departing in sync with the time clock is no biggie. But in an office, a staffer who walks in at 8 and starts packing up at 4:50 is someone who’s not invested in their job and is simply marking time.
Tip: Try to get them re-invested by offering more responsibility or a high-visibility project. It’s critical that they not misinterpret this as something designed to force more work hours. Instead, convey that their contribution is important to encourage buy-in!
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[title size=”2″]#2 Takes Excessive Breaks[/title]
If your employee pushes the one hour lunch out by ever-increasing increments, drags out coffee breaks or disappears to the bathroom for long intervals, they may be disengaged and taking any opportunity they can to avoid work that doesn’t interest them.
Tip: Try to shake up their routine by offering a cross-training opportunity in another department. They need something to peak their interest. Try to find out their goals and put them on the path of working toward one to spark them back to engagement!
[title size=”2″]#3 Skipping Group Gatherings[/title]
If your employee makes excuses to miss staff meetings, company picnics or holiday parties, they may be disengaged and out of step. Not feeling part of the group can fuel disaffection with the workplace and is very dangerous.
Tip: Try to get them back into the group by holding an impromptu gathering they can’t avoid and pull them into participating. Plot to have a couple of co-workers stop by to chat about a shared project and then insist that the discussion be continued over lunch.
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[title size=”2″]#4 Unprofessional Appearance[/title]
If your employee was once a dapper dresser and used to look sharp, professional and well-groomed but has transformed into a stubble bearing slob, this can be a warning sign. Not caring about your appearance at work is a sign they also don’t care about performance.
Tip: Try to get them back into their sharp dressing routine. Include them in an offsite meeting or networking event that will force them into better business attire. Compliment them on their appearance. Looking better can make them feel better and may snap them out of their funk.
[title size=”2″]#5 Pulling a Lone Wolf[/title]
If your employee was once part of a group that hung out for lunch and at coffee breaks but has now gone into solo mode, this is a sign that they’re feeling ostracized (even if it’s self-imposed) which can amp up disengagement.
Tip: Try to get them back one person at a time. Assign them a mentor who will meet with them regularly to form a bond and get them away from the loner mindset. Once they get used to the mentor consider giving them a mentee so they’ve got companionship from two directions.
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#6 Grousing and Grumbling
If your employee greets any news with a complaint (even good news) this is a sure omen of disengagement. This is a warning that they are angry and not feeling heard or valued. In some cases, this may be late-stage disengagement that’s hard to combat.
Tip: An employee who has decided they hate the company may not be salvageable and may need to be considered a candidate for dismissal. Try some informal counseling and if the anger seems immovable, you may want to cut your losses so they don’t poison overall morale!
Dealing with disaffected employees goes beyond simply coping with personality quirks. You can address Type As by offering automation and other tools to keep them from driving everyone crazy, but an angry worker is a whole different animal that requires treading lightly. To give yourself more time to sort out worker issues, consider trying Jobscience productivity tools to free up your valuable time!