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10 Signs Your Employees Don't Care Anymore

Disengaged employees

The Value of Employee Motivation

Your company wants to hire the most amazing people, which explains why employers often sift through thousands of applications to find the "right person" for the job. The right person is most often described as dedicated, loyal, clever, trustworthy and outgoing. Each of these are important characteristics that you can usually find in an organization's most committed and satisfied employees.

To many employers, these "star" employees are are often thought of as their organization's most valuable asset. Why? Although it can be difficult to measure an individual's actual value to an organization, these employees' sense of motivation and their level of engagement will have a direct and positive impact on their productivity. No wonder frontline managers continually want to know how their team is doing, how they feel about where they work, what their attitude is toward the organization they work for and if they are proud of the work that they do. Getting answers to these key questions is one of the many roles that a well-designed series of employee surveys can accomplish.

But what happens when your key employees lose that feeling of motivation and their drive to perform "above and beyond" what is expected of them? How can you tell when it is happening? Even more importantly, what can you do about it?

The Ten Danger Signs To Watch For

Here are 10 signs your employees have lost that motivated feeling:

  1. You notice a change in employee punctuality and reliability. Taking extended lunches and frequent breaks, leaving work abruptly and not paying close attention to the work they are doing could be indicative of unhappy and disenaged staff.
  2. Your department or workgroup experiences an increase in absenteeism, sick days, medical leaves and short term disability. All of these could be a sign that your employees are struggling with negative work-related circumstances beyond their control. Chronic unhappiness can lead to feelings of sadness and depression, which can trigger sleep disorders and an inability to cope with the stress they feel in their daily lives. As you can imagine, these symptoms can take a real tool on job satisfaction and commitment.
  3. If the number of complaints among your employees are increasing and your staff is expressing increased dissatisfaction about their fellow workers, their own performance, perceived favoritism toward others or how fairly company policies are implemented, this will eventually undermine teamwork, productivity and morale.
  4. An increase in customer complaints can also signal a problem with customer-facing employees. Employees who resent their work will express their discontent through their relationships with customers. When employees no longer care, they will not be willing to fulfill or exceed customer service expectations. There may be more product returns, diminished quality control, increased defects and processing errors that will have a direct impact on sales and customer attitudes towards your business.
  5. Your top performers start resigning unexpectedly. Even if their own performance has not been impacted, they may not want to be a part of a declining company where there is an overall negative work ethic, increasing negative attitudes, and diminishing productivity.
  6. An absence of synergy among your employees is also a good indication that team spirit is missing. Employees who do not connect with one another, who do not say good morning and choose to not to participate in departmental activities or functions may be struggling. Employees who express no enthusiasm for their duties are also giving you clues that something is wrong.
  7. No one is having any fun anymore. If, at times and maybe more often than you are willing to admit, your workplace feels tense and uptight, it may be because people are feeling disconnected from their work and the people they work with.
  8. Silence is pervasive. You will likely sense a feeling of mistrust when co-workers do not ask questions of each other, offer their opinions or freely exchange ideas. Something is especially wrong when employees are unwilling to express ideas or commit themselves to taking risks and accepting new challenges.
  9. Watch for visual clues that something is amiss, such as excessive gossiping, griping and grumbling. Frowning faces are not the signs of a happy group of employees.
  10. You've just reviewed your most recent employee engagement survey report from Insightlink and the results are not positive. You see that overall job satisfaction and employee engagement are down in your department and your proportion of "Dissatisfied Compromisers" has risen dramatically.

Action Steps to Regain Employee Motivation

There are a number of "tried and true" actions you can take as a manager that can help convert your Dissatisfied Compromisers into Committed Loyalitsts:

  1. Do not lose sight of the personal touch. These days, so much interaction with employees is handled electronically that you can easily miss the 10 signs of dissatisfaction. Make sure that you reach our to each of your direct reports on a regular basis.
  2. Continually stress and confirm the value your employees bring, not only to the organization as a whole but to you personally as well.
  3. Be careful not to let the stress and frustrations you feel at work boil over so you become toxic to those you need to rely on. Maybe some of the distrust and unease in your department is due to your negative behavior and attitudes?
  4. Reinforce and champion the purpose and goals of both your organization and your department. People really like to feel part of something bigger than they are!
  5. Get buy-in from your employees before implementing new policies and procedures. Employees can really resent what they see as arbitrary changes, especially if they are not given the chance to offer recommendations and suggestions before these changes are announced.
  6. It may seem obvious but don't micro-manage your employees. Give them the authority and freedom they need to perform their tasks to the best of their ability.
  7. Help your employees to take control of the problems they face at work, so they can find meaningful and effective solutions themselves. In our standard employee survey, we ask employees to rate how well their employer lets them learn from their mistakes rather than being punished for them - letting employees find their own way is essential to building feelings of automomy and engagement at work.

Spurring Change Through Employee Surveys

An employee survey from Insightlink will let you know how happy or unhappy your employees are but there is much more work to be done with that insight and information. Our experience with clients has demonstrated that, after an employee satisfaction survey has been conducted, employees are much more interested in seeing action taken than they are in seeing the results of the employee survey. That is why we are committed to providing our clients with the tools and help they need to create effective Action Plans. You can learn much more about how to conduct effective Action Planning here.

employee survey action planning workbook

For even more information about Employee Survey Action Planning or to learn more about Insightlink's 4Cs Action Planning Workbook, please call us at 866-802-8095 ext. 705 or email today.


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