It’s super exciting when you start hunting around for the perfect role. Even the stress and anxiety of interviews are finally alleviated when the offer comes through. From then on out, you get to enjoy the excitement of a new role and all the new learning opportunities that come with it. However, how long does that ‘honeymoon phase’ realistically last?

When the inevitable time pressures and increased responsibility stick around for a prolonged period or business is particularly rocky for a while – how do you re-engage your employees and get them back to the productive, enthusiastic individuals they once were? 

Disengaged staff can cause major operational problems that then impact other areas of the company. Not only are they at risk of underperforming, but they could start making detrimental mistakes and cause friction between other high-performing employees. 

It’s important that managers and other team leaders know how to manage disengaged staff. The ability to boost morale can see an average of 40% reduction in absenteeism and 20% boost in profitability. All in all, the more time and effort you put into keeping people motivated, the more rewards you will reap from their progress. 

What Disengages People At Work?

It can sometimes be hard to determine whether people are at a serious risk of leaving the company or if they are just going through the motions. However, if you notice a change in anyone, it’s time to think about their experience at work and how they may be perceiving the role. 

Common reasons for disengagement include the lack of:

  • Flexibility with time or autonomy
  • Communication
  • Support
  • Teamwork
  • Understanding of the role or company values
  • Culture
  • Inclusivity
  • Accessibility
  • Development opportunities
  • Control
  • Incentive
  • Trust

However, this list is not exhaustive. We all face different challenges at work and have to be a little empathetic before realising what people may or may not need. But there are a few things you can try to get them out of that rut.

1. Make Time For Them

This doesn’t just mean professionally. Think about the hundreds of reasons they could be disengaged. It’s not always going to come down to job satisfaction and workload. They could be struggling with external pressure or mental health. So don’t forget to make time for them as you would a friend outside of work.

We’re not talking about a one-time chance meeting in the hallway. Physically book out time in your calendar every once in a while to talk to your team individually. We’ve spoken about the importance of communication and feedback time and time again, but we’re not scared to repeat ourselves again. 

If they know they have a positive relationship with you, they will come to you for answers and advice. This can really help to boost productivity and re-engage your employees. Perhaps they’re stuck in a rut or have hit a wall in their role. The ability to approach you or other leaders will enable them to reignite the creative juices. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation.

The same goes for mental health struggles. They may not go into detail with a colleague, but if you can be made aware – offering support and pointing them in the right direction can only be a positive influence for them. Without taking the time to do so, they may never get out of that negative headspace and that’s when you start losing employees. So talk less, and start listening.

2. A Quick Thank You Goes A Long Way

Nothing fancy, but let them know their efforts are still appreciated. Even if you recognise it might not be their best work – they may have still made an impact in a particular project, or agreed to take on a dull job no one else wanted to do. 

Recognition plays a huge factor in how you can re-engage your employees at tough moments. If they start blending into the background and feeling like they are invisible – even the smallest gesture will begin shining a light back on the people who deserve it and increase motivation. 

Think back to the last time you were praised for doing something well. Chances are it made you want to do it again, right? Well, if you’re suffering from low productivity or poor work quality – think about the difference a simple thank you could make to that person’s day. It might just be the pick me up they needed to get back on the grind and realise that they have a purpose in the company. 

3. Think Outside The Box

No, it’s not a cliche. Sometimes business gets a bit stale and hits a plateau. This is when you may start to notice people slipping. Work should not be boring. If we’re going back to the saying of do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life – people should not be disengaged when doing something they truly enjoy and believe in. 

Interesting and creative projects are invaluable for every organisation. Big or small, an ambitious campaign or new take on a repetitive process won’t just bring profitable benefits – it’ll help to re-engage your employees too. However, you’ll need to ensure it’s not creating an unmanageable workload. Remember, even though it may be far more exciting, a work-life balance is one of the most important factors here. 

Furthermore, a common complaint from individuals who are suffering is often that they feel completely out of the loop. So, when implementing a new idea or sparking creativity in the business – make sure to involve everybody across the board. When we don’t know what’s going on above our heads – strategy and direction can be hard to hold onto. Let alone motivation. 

4. Forget About Business

Even though we are completely business-centric and focused at Azimuth, we truly believe that sometimes you just need to step away. 

This doesn’t mean shutting down all operations for a week and going on a company holiday (although that does sound really good!) but think about new ways your business can get involved in external, fun causes. From volunteering in your local area to training for the marathon together or taking part in a mud run for charity – these are all things you can advertise to draw traction to your business, but that will get people out and about for a good cause and reignite their beliefs in your values. 

Re-engage your employees

Even displaying at an exhibition can be valuable for disengaged staff. It forces them to advocate again and think about the bigger picture. It doesn’t take the business out of the picture completely, but it does change the way in which people approach their roles. Let them prove their innovation and get involved in something different. You may find that this alone brings newfound enthusiasm and ideas to the team.

5. Cater To People’s Individual Productivity

Now, we understand that some roles will only be functional between certain times. People like warehouse workers and posties have set times in which their jobs can be done. In that case, just scroll back up and try the other tips…

However, if you are in a position to offer flexible working – disengaged employees are your sign to give it a go. We are only human and our bodies are not made to be optimally functional between 9 am and 5 pm alone. Some of us get bursts of energy and our best ideas at two in the morning. Now, we know it’s not always practical to let people work at 2am – but hear us out. 

If you can allow employees to work more flexibly, they are better equipped to tackle their responsibilities at a time when they are the most engaged and creative. For example, if someone is struggling to balance their personal life with work – they may become unmotivated due to stress and worry about making time for their children or other responsibilities outside of their role. 

Giving them the chance to start work later, take more breaks throughout the day or even work later on days where they feel particularly motivated means they have the opportunity to take time off when they don’t feel so capable to do their jobs. 

As long as they are working their contracted hours and fulfilling their responsibilities, there shouldn’t be a reason (in some industries) why this can’t be done outside of the traditional 9-5 expectation we have come to know. 

Re-engage Your Employees – Not A Lost Cause

It’s not the end of the world if you notice someone slipping. But it could become a problem if you let it go on too long. The likelihood is that it’s not their fault that they feel this way. For one reason or another, their job satisfaction is not living up to what it once was and it is your job as a manager and owner to get around this. 

Employing just a couple of the practices we’ve mentioned could go a long way in developing loyal staff and maintaining a productive, motivated workforce. It’s going to highly benefit the mental health and well-being of everyone as well as boost many areas of business. 

So, if you’ve noticed yourself or other staff in this position, we will be more than happy to discuss how we can help you. With over 20 years of experience across a range of industries, we have the innovative, proven tools that can help you unlock the true potential of yourself – and your business. What are you waiting for? 

Get in touch today for more support, advice and information on where to begin!

You can reach us at or call 01483 24 33 81.

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