Business Challenge #2: The Unengaged Employee

Back to Blog

The unengaged employee…There he sits perched in his or her cubicle.  He follows all the rules, attends meetings, responds to email, is a bit late on a few projects and customers don’t complain much about this person, yet this person is not performing well.

In the midst of all this, you recall a time in the not too distant past when you hired this person.  They were  full of great promise.  It was Spring and everything was blooming. They came in to the fill the right role at the right time.  You recall a time when their projects were fantastic.  Now, things seem a bit different. The quality is not there, the energy has vacated and the contribution is lacking. What happened?

There are many possibilities, factors and theories.  Let’s explore a few of the possibilities:

1)  Look In The Mirror:  Leader / Manager / Supervisor what have you done to potentially create or contribute to this problem.  When was the last time you had a very intentional 1:1 outside of performance review time?  Leave the data sheets at the door and ask some questions to see how the person is doing at work, at home, at play and anywhere else.

2) Corporate Values Have Evolved: That once shiny set of corporate values has turned to rust.  Just like mom’s silver or that new car. The silver turns to rust and the new car smell fades away.  Corporate values can change, erode and lose their luster over time.  Either shine them up or buy some new ones.  Your unengaged employee is already aware that the values have changed or lost their luster.

3) “All Done:” I used to tell  my mom this when I had completed my chores at home.  I despised chores.  My goal was to finish.  Disengaged employee has worked hard, paid their dues and has internally said “All done”  Help them discover that and help them transition to their role or to a new opportunity.

4) Not Connected: Your people need to know…I know I have said this before…I am going to say it again…They need to know and see how their work connects to the greater purpose.  Leader that is your job.  Please do this before the next recession, Christmas program or that gallon of milk in your refrigerator expires…It is worth the time.

What if you are that person sitting in the cubicle and you are unengaged?  See if one of the four issues above describes your situation.  If they do, do you have the courage to speak to your leader? Or better yet, see about finding a way to connect and serve others in the midst of this.  Your greatest purpose is serving others. Start there.  Better yet, download my Career of Great Cause Guide and see what you discover.