In his book “Employee Enragement’ James Adonis turns the concept of Employee Engagement on its head to look at why people don’t want to work for certain employers.
Interestingly, it is not dissatisfaction with salary and benefits or work/life balance that is top of the list, but employers not dealing with lazy or underperforming people is the most common cause of employee enragement.
An “engaged employee” is one who is enthusiastic about their work and committed to the employer’s goals and vision. It is easy to see an ‘engaged’ employee. They are the ones with a smile on their faces, are optimistic and who bounce back from setbacks.
But what are the signs of a disengaged employee? Oftentimes when an employee resigns, it is only with the benefit of hindsight that you can see that they have not been happy. Here are some of the things to look out for:
Tardiness – always late, even if it’s only a few minutes, to work, to meetings
Leaving early – leaving on the dot of 5 o’clock when they used to work late (this doesn’t apply to administrative staff)
Constant Criticism and Complaints–criticises and complains about everything from the quality of the coffee, to the length of meetings, to management decisions
Rolling eyes – if criticism is not verbalized, it is done with a rolling of the eyes. A lot.
Silence – stays silent in meetings, then tells everyone how useless the meeting was and what their views are
Gossip – someone who gossips about the business and other people
Withdrawal – the opposite of gossip, someone who sits in their office with the door shut, not talking, or at their desk not talking
Uncommunicative – stops saying hello or goodbye, or taking an interest in others
Unhelpful – stops helping others who need it (usually with a roll of the eyes)
Absenteeism – starts being sick a lot on Mondays and Fridays
Reduced productivity – a previously high performer suddenly starts not performing to expectations
Lack of Discretionary effort – taking a ‘that’s not my job’ approach to work and the workplace.
Anger – barely able to hide their frustration by boiling over in anger at little things
By the time many of these symptoms are evident it is too late to turn a disengaged to an engaged employee – it is not impossible, of course, but very hard to do. Remember how the number one irritant for employees is employers not dealing with underperforming colleagues? This, then, is something that you need to deal with, as a disengaged employee will be like a heavy weight pulling the rest of the team down, and you risk losing your top performers. If you have an employee behaving like this, it is time for an honest discussion about under performance.