Create Active Engagement with Meaningful Moments

Five Signs of Disengaged Employees and Strategies to Re-engage

According to Gallup, 70% of employees in the United States do not work to their full potential. More than half of these are disengaged with their work, and 18% of these disengaged employees are actively disengaged. These actively disengaged employees cost the American economy around $500 billion each year because of lost productivity. 

What are the signs of disengaged employees, and could creating meaningful moments develop employee engagement more effectively than traditional engagement strategies?

Five Signs of Disengaged Employees

Every organization suffers from disengaged employees. To solve this, leaders and managers must know the signs that their employees are disengaged. Here are the five most common signs that employees are disengaging from their work and their employer.

1.They take more breaks

Disengaged people use breaks to avoid work. They will visit the restroom more often, gossip at the water cooler, and take a few extra minutes making coffee and tea in the staff kitchen. Those employees who smoke will start taking cigarette breaks at more regular intervals.

When these actions are not tackled, they can lead to disquiet among colleagues and teams, disrupting collaboration and productivity.

2. Late to start and early to leave

Most people are late to work occasionally. Many have cause to leave work early now and then. Disengaged employees are regularly late to arrive and will seek to leave work early as often as possible.

3. Absenteeism

Disengaged employees tend to take more sick leave and find excuses to not be at work. Often, sick leave is taken at the beginning or end of the working week. Care must be taken when challenging such employees – there may be a genuine health reason why their absenteeism has increased.

4. Withdrawal from participation

An employee used to take an active role in team meetings. They used to ask questions and offer ideas to help solve problems. Now they sit quietly. They avoid social gatherings and have stopped putting themselves forward for group project work. Such a change in behavior could be a sign that the employee is actively disengaging from the workplace. 

5. Productivity falls

An employee whose productivity has dropped, perhaps who regularly misses deadlines, and produces lower-quality work than they used to is likely to be disengaged. A brief drop in productivity may be explained by other reasons, but a prolonged fall is a clear indication that the employee has disengaged.

Why Meaningful Moments Help to Engage Employees

Enjoyment of life is determined by the meaningful moments with which it is punctuated. For the most part, life is mundane. We sleep, we eat, we commute, we work. In our personal lives, the extraordinary moments create extraordinary life experience. The vacations we take. The parties we attend. The days we spend with families. Thanksgiving meals. The giving and receiving of Christmas gifts. The birth of a child.

At work, most employees undertake tasks that require the same process day in, day out. When we return home from a hard day at the office, we don’t talk about the mundane. Our experience at work is related to the meaningful moments that we encounter. We discuss the conversation we had with the boss. We enthuse about the new project that we have been charged to lead. We take pride in the mention of our name in a team meeting, because of the contribution we have made.

Meaningful moments motivate us. They encourage us to strive to achieve more of the same. They help to engage us in our work, our team, and our organization and its products and services.

How to Engage Employees with Meaningful Moments

Imagine you have a new employee. They are likely to be reluctant to offer opinions or ideas, as they will be finding their feet and feeling their way into their new team. The first time they make a suggestion, you must decide whether to discuss the suggestion or ignore it.

By reacting positively, taking the time to explore the merits of the suggestion made, and leading a positive conversation about the suggestion, you create a meaningful moment for the new employee. You confirm that they are a valuable member and that their contributions are welcomed. The next time they have an idea, they will be more likely to voice it. And so, employee engagement begins.

Successful strategies to create meaningful moments and develop the positive employee experiences that build employee engagement include:

  • Social recognition

Recognizing effort that is more than that required to achieve one’s work goals. For example, a mention in team meetings, or an email that is circulated to the team.

  • Personalized rewards

A personalized reward takes social recognition up a level. It requires the manager to know and understand their employees, and to surprise them with a gift that has real meaning to them personally. 

  • Provide meaningful work

Employees engage with work that they consider meaningful. This may be work that aligns with their sense of purpose, or perhaps projects that are designed to help them achieve career goals.

Change Your Mindset to Employee Experience

Creating positive employee experiences leads to better employee engagement. Without this type of experience, your people will disengage. However, to create a workplace culture that utilizes the power of meaningful moments requires a change in mindset.

Managers must understand that humans tend to remember moments. These influence our overall experience. Few adults remember the rainy days during school breaks. They do remember the days they spent with friends in the summer sun. The organization that has a culture of creating positive, meaningful moments is the organization most likely to benefit from higher levels of employee engagement, and all the advantages this brings.

Contact us today, and discover how we could help your leaders and managers improve their communication practices and strategies, and how this can feed through to the employee experience.

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