Five effective ways to re-engage disengaged workers

20th June by Lee Robertson

Reading time 3 minutes

Share this article:

Twitter LinkedIn
Five ways to re-engage disengaged workers

When an employee starts to feel disconnected from the brand they work for they can behave much like a disgruntled customer vocalising their discontent or worse still, lower their productivity and quality. Rather than ignoring the problem, what can managers and team leaders do when workers begin to present signs of low morale? Here are our five top tips to re-engage the disengaged.

1. Understand where they are in the employee lifecycle

The employee lifecycle model (ELC) is a simple method devised to chart how an employee engages with the organisation they work for. It highlights this ongoing relationship over five stages – recruitment, onboarding, development, retention and exit – and is used in designing the employee experience much like we would model a customer’s journey.

Understanding where the worker is within the lifecycle model can give a good insight into why they are feeling the way they are. Frustration could have crept in where there is a lack of responsibility, or on the flip side, they could feel pressurised by too much. Mapping out the employee journey leads to better retention and can improve a company’s reputation for looking after its staff.

2. Create development opportunities

When employees get itchy feet or start to experience a dip in their motivation, one of the most common root causes can be a lack of personal and professional development opportunities. On-the-job learning prospects is an important key driver in attracting staff and retaining them.

High-performing employees will naturally want to better themselves and enhance their existing skills. Investing in training or coaching to allow them to develop their potential will have several benefits including happier workers with better engagement and increased productivity. In addition, uncovering previously hidden talents can be an unexpected benefit with workers being able to contribute in new, lucrative ways.

3. Involve employees in the bigger picture

A lot of companies are guilty when it comes to automatically assuming that their workforce is onboard with the organisation’s overall strategy. There is a lot of evidence that suggests that workers often simply don’t know what the business is trying to achieve and what it is doing to get there.

A lack of clarity in their role and failure to grasp their purpose can lead to employees switching off because they don’t feel they are contributing to the bigger picture. Make sure you regularly brief workers about what is happing at the top level. If an employee feels responsible for business results, they are far more likely to be engaged and motivated in doing their bit because they’ll have a greater feeling of personal achievement.

4. Listen to what they have to say

Human solutions are important and one of the most effective steps to re-engaging an employee is simply by listening to what they have to say. What’s bothering them, what stressors are they experiencing and how can you work with them to resolve the problem? Having direct and honest conversations unlocks new ways of working and grants the chance to formulate a plan of action to get the employee reconnected.

Having an open culture where dialogue is encouraged at all levels across the business is a powerful tool. Employees want and need to be involved in what the business is doing. Giving them a voice and chance to brainstorm helps improve processes and systems and can help with innovation and problem solving across the organisation as a whole.

5. Take a personalised approach to management

Having a bad manager is often the number one gripe for employees and the most common reason for them losing interest and wanting to jump ship.

A good manager will explore why and how that individual’s needs are not being met and will work with them to find ways to get the best out of them. Inclusion and psychological safety are central when it comes to good people management and workers will respond well if a more personalised style is taken rather than a one fits all approach.

Work at your personal relationships with direct reports and communicate clear performance expectations from them. Partner with them to put a self-development plan in place and provide tailored help, training and coaching to enable them to succeed and work to the very best of their ability.