Employee engagement is good for business, productivity, and workplace culture. It’s so important that you’ll find countless articles on how to engage your employees—but what do you do if a member of your team isn’t quite there? How do you re-engage the disengaged?


How to recognize a disengaged employee

There’s a difference between an employee having a bad Monday and an employee suffering from disengagement.

Obvious signs include:

  • Underperformance;
  • A lack of productivity; and
  • Negative comments.

Less obvious signs include:

  • Spreading negativity;
  • Sabotage; and
  • Health issues such as depression.

But once you’ve identified a disengaged employee, how do you bring them back?


How to re-engage a disengaged employee

Re-engaging a disengaged employee can take time, patience, and effort—but it can also result in having one of your most engaged, positive, and influential employees back. So, let’s take a look at the top ways to re-engage the disengaged.


1. Talk to them

Before jumping in with fruit baskets, responsibilities, and team building activities, first, ask the employee what’s wrong. This enables you to get to the root of the problem and put in place the right solutions to overcome it. For example, an employee feeling disengaged because of workplace conflict, won’t appreciate the challenging projects suitable for an employee feeling disengaged because they’re bored.


2. Listen to them

One-third of employees feel that they are not listened to at work—leading to frustration,  annoyance, and disengagement. Implement practices that involve them in the bigger picture, and encourage two-way communication through regular 1:1s, team meetings, and 360 feedback. And, don’t forget to use and act upon employee contributions – there’s nothing more disengaging than someone listening but not caring.


3. Involve them

When John F. Kennedy asked a janitor what he was doing, while at NASA space center, the janitor didn’t respond with “mopping up.” No, he told Kennedy: “Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.” Give all of your employees a sense of purpose by sharing a clear vision and joint-creating goals for them to contribute to that vision. Everyone in your workplace should be able to explain how their role is helping the company to achieve its aims.


4. Give opportunities

Monotony kills motivation, causes disengagement, and ultimately leads to a resignation letter. Sometimes, you need to give employees a reason to become engaged by offering them new challenges, more responsibility, and opportunities for development. Find out what drives your employee by using personality testing to identify their strengths and identify their career goals—then work together to achieve them.


5. Thank them

We all know that salary isn’t the biggest motivator, but how often do we stop to consider what is? Sometimes, it’s a simple as a thank you. Reward your disengaged employees by recognizing and celebrating what they do. It keeps spirits high, shows gratefulness, and encourages positive reinforcement.


Disengaged employees don’t necessarily have to leave the company. Reignite their motivation with these simple tips! You never know, they could become your most engaged employee yet.