Are your employees excited to be at work today? Are they even happy?

As wonderful as that would be, it’s unrealistic. Needless to say, most companies would be satisfied if their employees were simply engaged and productive. According to a recent Gallup poll on employee engagement, seven out of ten U.S. workers aren’t engaged in their work. Seventy percent, more than two-thirds of employees… and that’s a lot!

What’s worse is how much disengagement can cost a business; according to Gallup, mentally checked-out employees cost organizations $450 – $550 billion (not million, billion!) in lost productivity every year.

Do you really want your business to resemble the above statistics?
So, what’s the problem? There can be many reasons for checked-out and unhappy employees. Factors include things like the economy, career development, corporate culture, benefits, professional growth, and management. Before you learn how to spot the tell-tale signs of checked-out team members, you need to ask yourself several very important questions.

  • Would you be happy if you were in their shoes? (I don’t mean their field of work relative to you personally, but for that person and their career.)
  • Are they being paid fairly, are you helping them grow their career and achieve their personal and professional goals?
  • Are they being recognized for their achievements?

First things first; you have to be able to spot dissatisfied and checked out employees before you can work on mending the situation.

Here’s what to look for:

Little or no complaints – Don’t be fooled. Just because an employee has no complaints, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re happy. While you don’t want a workforce of whiners, you want your employees to feel free to voice their concerns and complaints to you. No complaints could be a sign they’re afraid to rock the boat or they just don’t care anymore. Remind your employees you need to know about problems that affect their productivity at work and create an open, comfortable environment for them to do so.

Wasting time – An employee who spends hours on the Internet everyday may be an underperformer, or they may just not have enough to do. Make sure your employees have a balanced, fair workload that keeps them feeling challenged and useful. Just make sure not to overload anyone.

They’re not learning anything new – Are your employees relying on the same skill sets they had when you hired them? Make sure they’re participating in some type of development opportunity to keep them feeling fresh and relevant. Employees need to be able to answer “What’s in it for me?” to be fully engaged at work.

No enthusiasm– Employees should find some enjoyment in what they do, even if it’s not the most exciting job. Let them know how important they are to your company, and try to find new challenges for them. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, said, “You have to really believe in what you are doing, be passionate enough about it so that you put in the hours and hard work that it takes…then you’ll be successful.”

Too much stress – Watch out for employees who seem to be overworking themselves trying to handle too many demands and not getting enough downtime. Talk about what you can do to relieve some of the strain, and be willing to be flexible with time tables and deadlines so you don’t lose a solid employee.
Even at an uncertain time in the economy, employees aren’t happy just having a job. Remember, every employee is motivated differently. Data derived from our assessment tools can be a great way to find out what motivates individual employees and help you retain your best workers.