Motivating Disengaged Team Members

Entrepreneurs have to wear many hats when it comes to running their business.  Especially if their business is smaller, often the entrepreneur is in charge of not just generating amazing ideas, but also the human resources side of the business- including managing morale.  

It’s impossible to be a mind reader of your employees, however there are some underlying causes you can be aware of so that you can hopefully nip it in the bud and increase productivity. According to Gallup, 70 percent of employed Americans are disengaged.  We think that is a statistic you will want to improve!!  

Below is a list of some root causes and some possible solutions to help disengaged employees feel engaged again!  

  • Lack of community or team connectedness:  Organize social events and collaborative workdays, encourage employees to set up virtual coffee dates
  • Lack of transparency and trust:  Work with the employee to build psychological safety and an open, honest employee/manager relationship
  • Confusing workplace systems or unhelpful tools:  Reanalyze the systems and tools in place and determine which should be replaced with more effective and user friendly options.  
  • Lack of career growth:  Set out a clear growth plan with SMART goals and realistic timelines- be transparent about what is and isn’t possible, and check-in often.
  • Lack of recognition:  Add team member recognition and “wins” to the beginning of every meeting.  Establish a specific list that captures wins and praise/kudos.
  • Lack of purpose or sense of challenge: Work with the employee to map out goals that will challenge and re-inspire them
  • Lack of autonomy:  Work with the employee to develop trust and see where you give them more autonomy, independence, and ownership over projects they find interesting
  • Not feeling heard or seen:  Listen with empathy, have more productive and transparent 1:1s, and create a safe and open work environment.
  • Poor communication:  Have regular conversations regarding methods, frequency, and modes of communication.  “If people don’t express their problems to management, they’re unlikely to solve them. They end up complaining and inflating issues, spreading frustration and low morale to their peers or team members.”
  • Unclear expectations, roles, and responsibilities:  Reassess their role and responsibilities to find discrepancies, and ask them which tasks they find most energizing and which they find more draining.
  • Burnout or work stress:  Provide better task management, frequent check-ins, more workplace flexibility, and emphasis on mental health and well-being activities.
  • Unclear company mission and goals:  Reassess and share company vision, as well as the impact their work makes on the company’s goals,
  • Employee goals unaligned with the company & team vision:  Work with them to find where their goals and vision align with those of the company and team.

Any time you have the opportunity to work with an employee, it’s hugely important to LISTEN.  Rather than talking TO your employee, try shifting your focus to being a better listener.  Oftentimes, when you actively implement this into your managing practices, you will see that employees WANT to work harder and feel appreciated, heard, and be appreciated. 

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