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How to reengage a disengaged employee

Engagement | Benefits

Posted on: Wednesday August 10, 2022

by Karen Thornley, Chief Product and Partnerships Officer

Worried about a disengaged employee? The problem is more prevalent than you might think… 

A Gallup poll found that 11% of employees in the UK say they are engaged at work. That means 89% of employees are either neutral or worse, disengaged. The problem of unhappy and disengaged employees isn’t just one of optics, there’s also monetary implications – disengaged employees are costing the UK economy £340 billion every year.   

The reasons for employees to disengage from their work are many, ranging from workload problems to a lack of training. But the most common reason cited is ineffective management.  

Why would you want happy and engaged employees? Well, motivated and committed employees go the extra mile and there is a strong link between an engaged workforce and business success. 

If your business is struggling with employee engagement, there’s still hope. But correcting course will take time and dedication. Below is a guide to help you identify and reengage disengaged employees. 

Step 1: Identify disengaged employees 

To correct a problem, first you must identify where it’s coming from. The tell tale signs aren’t always obvious, but there are certain behaviours and traits disconnected employees often display: 

  • They lack interest in their development
  • Their performance has suffered 
  • PTO requests and sick leave have increased 

Pay attention to these indicators to discover whether an employee has withdrawn from their work. Once you’ve identified them, you can start to reengage them.  

Step 2: Talk less and listen more 

A recent study by The Workforce Institute found 83% of employees in the UK don’t feel heard by their employers. When employees don’t feel heard, they feel undervalued — which leads to distrust and disengagement.  

Often, these employees have great potential, but their ideas aren’t being heard. Ask yourself, as a business, how often do you have open forums where employees can freely voice opinions and ideas? This in itself isn’t enough — when employees voice their ideas, you must then take action and show that you have (within reason, as this can’t always be done).   

Step 3: Remind them they’re not alone 

Nearly half of employees in a recent study said they felt isolated at work. When people feel they have been left alone and isolated in a business they tend to withdraw. Stop this by: 

  • Having regular catch-ups 
  • Offer praise and considerate feedback 
  • Show them that you’re taking an active interest in their work 

Step 4: Set goals together 

Setting goals together offers multiple benefits: employees feel they’re being heard, it gives them a seat at the table, and it gives them a say in their career.  

When setting goals, it’s important that you work with your employee to identify their strengths and weaknesses and set goals accordingly. This will help to gain buy-in from them and offer something tangible for them to work towards. It will also hold them accountable for their success.   

This is just the beginning… 

There is much more that should be done to reengage a disengaged employee – it might even be useful to improve your workplace culture.  

However, making a start and showing you care will go a long way. 

For more advice on how to reengage a disengaged employee, speak to one of our experts or subscribe to our blog and receive cutting-edge insights delivered right to your inbox.   


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