According to employee research by Gallup, 17.5% of employees are “actively disengaged” in their jobs. These are easy to spot: they don’t enjoy coming to work, they’re dissident in meetings and internal comms, they have a bad attitude, or they’re missing work often.
51%, however, are merely “not engaged” in their work—and this looks very different. These employees quietly do their work without challenging the status quo. They’re not willing to put in extra effort, they may not fully believe in the company vision, and they aren’t powerful contributors.
Most importantly, they’re not innovating.
Regardless of which group they belong to, disengaged employees produce a slow and steady decline in productivity and work quality. Employers are looking at nearly 70% of our workforce in these underperforming categories—and that’s something that we can all agree needs to change.
To motivate disengaged individuals on your team, you need to complete three distinct steps: identify the problem, fix the immediate issues, and apply a broad long-term solution.
Step 1: Identify Why Your Employees are Disengaged
The most important thing you can do as a leader is connect with your employees and figure out why they’re not engaged in their work. That’s why the first step is to gather valuable information from a high-quality employee engagement survey. Your goal is to answer the following questions:
Are your employees frustrated by a lack of upward movement in their career trajectory?
Are they overworked, required to work too much overtime, or frustrated by an inflexible work schedule?
Do they feel undervalued by your company due to low salaries and infrequent raises?
Are your employees mad at their managers?
Are they receiving proper acknowledgement for a job well done?
Are they overwhelmed by a lack of skills and proper training for their roles?
Have they already started the hunt for new job prospects?
Do they see a lack of values or purpose displayed by your company?
Do they know what your company stands for? Are they familiar with your company’s culture and purpose?
Are they just not being challenged?
Step 2: Put Out the Most Important Fires
The truth of the matter is, all of the problems outlined here rest directly in the hands of management at your company.
Take stock of your survey results and look closely to identify relevant patterns. You’ll see immediately whether your employees have a problem with management, whether they need more training, and whether or not your employees are satisfied with their salaries and benefits. The last situation can’t be solved immediately without a serious restructuring of your budget, so we’ll tackle that problem another time. The other two, however, we can do something about.
By looking at results by department, it should become evident if you have a manager whose leadership style needs work. This is the first and foremost area of improvement you should address. Interpersonal conflicts are a source of major stress for employees, and correcting unhelpful managerial behavior can make a huge difference in morale. Ultimately, you want managers who inspire and motivate their direct reports toward greater success.
Next, determine if your employees feel confident and qualified in their roles. If your employees feel unable to do their jobs due to lack of information or necessary skills, that’s a fire you’ll want to put out immediately. It’s relatively easy to allocate resources toward training, and it might just save your employee turnover rate.
Step 3: Apply a Global Solution
Each disengaged employee’s situation requires a nuanced response and resolution. However, if you’re seeing signs of low engagement across all departments or leadership levels in your company, it’s a clear sign you need to make a change on a larger scale. You need to get your team back on track and excited to come to work every day.
If you try only one strategy, we recommend incentivizing, recognizing, and rewarding your employees with a game-changing rewards program.
Here’s why this works: a custom employee incentive program rewards your team members for their increased productivity. It offers them a clear goal, a steady path to get there, and a sweet reward at the end. It shows employees that you care about making work fun, challenging, and rewarding. And it goes a long way toward satisfying those individuals who may be dissatisfied with compensation or benefits packages.
Whether the program of your choice involves custom uniforms for high achieving employees, a comprehensive company store with customizable swag, or earned gifts from name brands employees love, it’s time to start rewarding your team for their improved performance.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, your company ends up parting ways with those “actively disengaged” employees. I personally see this as a good thing. That 17.5 % is already halfway out the door and may be doing more harm than good through their negative influence on your organization. It’s the other 51% we’re concerned with—and those employees can be reached by figuring out what motivates them and providing great incentives.
Try out this two-step method with your own employees. Before long, I bet you’ll have built a more successful team.
At Inproma, we specialize in custom employee incentives that really work. We’re talking about programs that reward high achievers, recognize big (and small) wins, and incentivize your whole team to work toward greater success. We’re happy to share our secrets and help you get your team back on track. Let’s talk.