Would you trust the care of your most beloved loved one to someone who didn’t like you very much? If you have disengaged employees you might be doing just that. 

It is impossible for a disengaged employee to provide excellent customer service. It doesn’t matter how skilled the employee is, if they think of your business as the mere source of income, you/they won’t be wowing your customers.  

Worse than that, disengagement is a highly infectious disease. One disengaged employee can make all of your employees reevaluate their level of happiness within your business. For this reason, employee engagement is one of the most important investments you can make in your company. The good news is, a lot of that is up to you. 

Many employers believe a disengaged employee is better than no employee (an empty seat) but that isn’t true. A disengaged employee can do a lot more damage than being short handed. Disengagement breeds more dissatisfaction. It hurts customer relationships and may even hurt your ability to recruit. This isn’t something you can ignore.

You need to:

Act Decisively 

If you have employees who are showing signs of being disengaged, don’t let it fester hoping it will go away. It won’t. It will spread. Before you begin working on your company culture, tackle this problem head on. Talk with the individuals involved. See if you can’t come to an understanding of how you can both work on turning it around. 

The one thing you don’t want is happy employees seeing disengaged employees sitting around doing the minimum with a lousy attitude and getting paid for it. Employees are not robots. No matter how many times you tell others to ignore “Eeyore the employee” (and we don’t suggest you do, by the way), the bad feelings are bound to disrupt the work environment. 

Some disengaged employees are unsalvageable from an employment perspective. While you should give them the opportunity to turn it around, know that this is not always possible. In those cases, you need to help that employee begin the journey in finding what will light their fire. 

Decide Who You Are and Communicate It 

This idea is much easier if you start your business with a mission and you clearly convey it to everyone you hire. Your mission doesn’t have to be something as grand as ending world hunger. A mission can be as simple as being “Smithville’s favorite family ice cream shop.” Everything you do should focus on your business mission. 

The importance of sharing your mission with your employees is that it becomes the basis for all decision making. If employees know and understand your mission, they can use it as a referral point asking themselves at each decision, “Is this inline with our mission?”  

Hire for Fit 

Next you need to hire in accordance to your mission and the culture you want to create. Skills can be taught easily, shaping one’s attitude to fit the culture is a lot more difficult. Keep in mind: each new hire either brings you closer to attaining the culture you want, or takes you further away from your goal.  Don’t hire someone just to plug a hole in your payroll no matter how tempting that is these days. 

Give Them the Resources They Need and Get Out of the Way 

Have you ever seen a poll about qualities employees want in a manager? If so, maybe you’ve noticed the one thing that is never mentioned on it — “micromanaging.” No one wants to be managed at every level and constantly told their way is not the right way.

If you hire well and communicate expectations, goals and your mission, assuming your employees have the resources they need to succeed, they will begin to feel the company’s success is their success.

To that end, use inclusive language like “we” when communicating where you want the business to go and how you’ll get there.  

However, when giving specific direction or assignments forgo the “we.” No one knows who’s doing what when you talk in generic terms about specific roles like “We will check the Facebook page each morning.”  Who will? Not we. Be specific who owns that task.

Check in Often 

Giving employees the resources to perform their jobs isn’t your only role. You need to provide feedback often. You’ll find Millennials and Gen Zs are interested in regular guidance on their performance than Boomers or Gen Xers. Feedback needn’t be a formal review process. In can be a weekly or monthly check-in on how you think things are going. But it should be a two-way conversation and not a monologue. 

When someone exceeds your expectations, call attention to it immediately. Give examples of why this is ideal employee behavior. Don’t wait for an annual review to call it to everyone’s attention. It will get lost or forgotten by then.  

Create a culture where peers can also give constructive feedback, especially praising one another. Receiving peer recognition helps in team building and building a cohesive team increases employee loyalty.  

If you want your business to be successful, you need to have a team that can help you attain your goals. Investing in your employees and increasing their engagement level allows you to exceed your customers’ expectations and become a company that everyone wants to work for. Building a strong culture of engagement can also help you fill those empty seats when you get a reputation of being a great place to work.

Author: Diksha