6 Signs Your Employees Are Disengaging From Their Job (and What You Can Do About It)

“Employee disengagement” is more than just a buzzword. For many businesses, it’s a fact. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, 51 percent of workers rate themselves “not engaged,” and another 17.5 percent say they are “actively disengaged.”

Disengagement slaughters productivity, dampens morale, and greatly increases employee turnover.  Here are six signs your employees are “checking out,” and ways to help them “check in” once again.

Increased or excessive complaining

The occasional complaint or constructive criticism is a good thing; it helps solve problems and keep employees on track. A sudden uptick in complaints, or complaints with no constructive purpose, indicates an employee who is ready to disengage. Start to dig to the root of the problem, so you can address it constructively.


Workers who are absent more and more often, or who show up later than they once did, have often lost the “drive” to get to work and do well. Harsher punishments, however, will only encourage them to leave more often – perhaps permanently. Instead, look at what workers are being asked to do.  Does the work match their abilities and interests? Does it challenge them?

Failing to help others or be a team player

When the “why bother?” attitude sets in, it affects not only an employee’s work but their relationships as well. Encourage teamwork and cooperation by reshuffling workloads or assigning more challenging projects to a handpicked team with the skills to tackle the work.

Dishonest behavior

From swiping office supplies to lying about work, dishonesty on the job undermines the entire team’s morale – especially if the perpetrator gets away with it. Improving communication and transparency, as well as creating a safe environment for whistleblowers, makes employees feel like part of the team, which can discourage dishonest behavior.

No interest in growth or advancement

Some employees are so invested in their work that they’re not interested in moving up to management.  However, these employees are easy to spot: they come in early, stay late, and stay focused even when everyone else is disengaging or goofing off. When employees aren’t interested in their current work and aren’t interested in advancement, however, it’s a sure sign they don’t feel a sense of purpose or belonging with the company. Finding work that fits their abilities can help.

Lack of enthusiasm or initiative

Even employees who show up on time, do their work, and leave on time may just be punching the clock.  Look at the quality of the employee’s work and their willingness to take on new projects. If these are declining, talk to the employee about what kind of opportunities would excite them – and find a way to make them happen.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our Minnesota-based recruiters can help you find employees who mesh well with your company’s culture, boosting engagement and helping the entire team reach its productivity goals. Contact us today to learn more about our staffing services in Minnesota and Wisconsin.


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