Do YOU Have an Engaged Workforce? – Four Signs of Employee Disengagement

"I'm a disengaged employee."

Employee disengagement is a growing problem in today’s companies. According to a recent survey conducted by Dale Carnegie Training and MSW Research, only 29 percent of today’s workforce is actively engaged in their job. The remaining 71 percent are either disengaged or only partially engaged in the work they are doing—this is detrimental to both your current bottom line and your firm’s future growth potential.

Do you think your office is free of half-hearted employees? Consider the following signs of a disengaged workforce before answering.

1. Rampant Absenteeism – Yes, people get sick and a day out here and there should not cause alarm. However, if your company generally has a number of employees calling in on any given day, you may have problems with workforce disengagement. An unusual number of absences within any one department can also signal an issue.

2. Troublesome Tardiness – While time clocks requiring the physical punching of a card may have gone the way of the dodo, punctuality is still essential to a smoothly operating business. If you notice that employees are regularly late to work, late back from lunch, or leaving early, consider it a symptom of workforce disengagement.

3. Widespread Withdrawal – Disengaged employees tend to do the bare minimum to keep their jobs and are unlikely to associate with coworkers unless it is necessary. If your company party attendee list is shrinking, or fewer workers are bothering to show up for lunchtime potlucks or other optional gatherings, it may signal a decrease in engagement.

4. Negativity – An increase in grumbling and complaints—whether about workload, deadlines, department politics, or the selection of sodas in the break room vending machine—is often an early sign of disengagement. It can also have an immediate, morale dampening effect on the rest of your workforce.

If you find any of these signs of disengagement, it’s time to take steps to remedy the situation. While it may not be possible to turn a fully disengaged employee around, a proactive plan—including programs that encourage communication and collaboration—can help to re-engage the partially invested as well as prevent your best workers from moving on. 

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