Six Primary Reasons for Employee Disengagement

Here’s a sneak peek into my upcoming book: How To Hire the Best: The Entrepreneurs Ultimate Guide to Attracting Top Performing Team Members (Releasing September 15, 2020)

Why does disengagement happen?

Most experts blame immediate supervisors for employee disengagement. Certainly, a bad boss who yells and belittles team members will lead team members to become ticked off, apathetic, and disengaged. However, in my experience, most of the owners with whom we work are not bad bosses. In fact, they care considerably for their team members and yet they still have problems with disengaged team members. Here are the six primary reasons for employee disengagement.

1.   Team Members Not Understanding Their Role in the Story of Serving Your Ideal Client

FACT: Most business owners don’t have a compelling story about the “why” of their business and how their business serves a need of their ideal client and customer, much less a story that is appealing to their ideal team member.

When team members buy into why your business exists, why you are passionate about the customers and clients you serve, and why what the employee does matters, they are much more likely to be engaged. Taking out the trash is no longer just a chore to be done. It becomes a part of the whole story about why what you do matters.

2. Letting Too Many Slackers Hang on for Too Long

Letting too many slackers hang on for too long drags down morale. Your best people get tired of cleaning up messes made by the slackers. Plus, word gets out. Exceptional team members do not want to work with a bunch of warm bodies. By keeping warm bodies around, you are actually repelling exceptional team members.

3. The Boss Exhibiting Bad Behaviors

(Notice, I did not say “bad bosses.”)

Managing team members who constantly make mistakes and who do just enough to get by is maddening for even the most patient of bosses. We all have our breaking points.

Mike Bruno struggled to be patient with team members, especially when they made mistakes. He was repeatedly frustrated by the drama that arose when he criticized someone for not executing on the work he needed finished. Drama simply does not coincide with his personality type.

4. Failing to Delegate

As much as we business owners want to delegate, we can fail miserably in our execution of this. Failing to delegate will drag down morale. This often occurs because we do not trust the team members we’ve hired to get the job done.

5. A Mismatch Between the Team Member’s Immutable Laws and Yours

Many new hires are excited to work for you. They start out engaged, even though they are relatively ineffective because they are still learning the ropes. Once they are trained and have been with you for a while, they are exactly the kind of employee you want—engaged and effective.

6. Failing to Intervene Quickly When a Good Employee Shows the First Sign of Disengagement

You have a good employee who typically performs well and makes you proud. One day you observe this employee doing something out of character. Intervene as quickly as possible.

Too often, owners are inclined to overlook the problem, hoping it will go away. It won’t. Chances are, you’re seeing the first sign of a more serious problem to develop. Address it quickly and hold the employee accountable for improvement.

For tips on how to work through these problems and coach your team more effectively, please be sure to check out How To Hire the Best: The Entrepreneurs Ultimate Guide to Attracting Top Performing Team Members, releasing September 15, 2020.

About The Author

Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist and international best-selling author of the How to Hire the Best series and The 4 Week Vacation™, is the founder of Tap the Potential and host of the Profit by Design podcast. At Tap the Potential, we work to free business owners from the constant demands of a growing business.

We believe work supports life, not the other way around. Clients in our Better Business, Better Life coaching program have more time for what matters most and more money in their bank account than they’ve ever had. Next, we send them off on a 4 Week Vacation™ to celebrate their hard-earned journey to take their life back!

Dr. Sabrina and her team at Tap the Potential are on a mission to change the story of entrepreneurship from one of long hours, grinding it out, to one of sustainably profitable businesses that support and enhance life. The Tap the Potential Solution™ and our Tap the Potential Family of Business Owners are disrupting small business as usual. We are on our way to making the Tap the Potential Solution™ the mainstream model for growing business.

By 2023, 150 Tap the Potential clients will have taken 4 Week Vacations. These are the trailblazers, role modeling what’s possible for entrepreneurs. In many entrepreneurial circles, it is becoming more and more common for one entrepreneur to ask another, “Have you taken a 4 Week Vacation™?” (as opposed to asking “How many employees do you have?” or “What is your annual revenue?”). Taking a fully unplugged 4 Week Vacation is rapidly becoming the recognized symbol of entrepreneurial success.

Never one to accept the status quo or back down from a challenge, Dr. Sabrina’s How to Hire the Best series grew from her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges interfering with her clients’ growth and profitability. What sprang from her experience working with entrepreneurs in rural areas catapulted her into becoming the world’s leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses—no matter what hiring challenges those businesses are facing—and earned Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating Great Places to Work with thriving coaching cultures and highly engaged team members working from strengths.

As The Business Psychologist, and with her years of driving profit in small businesses, Dr. Sabrina knows what it takes to find, keep, and motivate exceptional performance out of your biggest investment—team members.