A frightening statistic from some international research we've been reviewing on employee turnover is that up to 75% of employees could be in some state of disengagement at any given time. What is even more startling is that the process of disengagement often starts during the first week on the job!
Some common signs of disengagement to watch for are: * Abrupt changes in behavior or dress * Lack of eye contact * Arriving late for work and leaving early * More sick and personal time, especially on Mondays and Fridays (prime days for job interviews) * Decreased level of participation in group meetings and discussions * Doing just enough to get by * Sudden outbursts of anger or impatience with coworkers, especially if this behaviour is out of character for the employee * Just a job attitude * Lack of interest in the future
All of these factors indicate that your employees are on the disengagement path. If they also begin to make comments like, “there’s lots of other companies that would want me”, or “maybe I should look for something else”, they should be taken seriously! These are not the ‘ideal comments’ that they appear. An employee is typically well down the disengagement path for these kinds of comments to surface. To try and reduce employee disengagement and the subsequent turnover it creates there are some pragmatic things you can do.
1. Train all of your managers to recognize signs of disengagement so they can help identify employees that are at risk of leaving. 2. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! The majority of people need ongoing communication to feel that they are part of an organization. 3. Have a well-structured orientation program. Make it personal and encourage people to get involved and interact.
4. Encourage all of your managers and support staff, and challenge yourself, to know all your employees by name. It shows you care.
5. Use any downturn in your business to rid yourself of poorly performing employees and those that have negative attitudes. Your organization has a much better chance of making it through tough times when you keep your best people.
6. Create a confidential method for employees to share their concerns and identify abusive supervisors. Once identified, train your problem supervisors with the necessary skills and encourage attitude shifts. If they are unable or unwilling to make the necessary shifts, move on quickly.
7. Have individual meetings with employees that are showing signs of disengagement. Be open and honest and work hard to find out what is causing them to disengage. Then, work even harder to fix those issues in your organization.
The better able an organization can identify the early signs of employee disengagement, the better the chance it has to address sources of disengagement proactively, and reduce their downstream employee turnover.