Conversations with Disengaged Team Members

How can I improve behaviour of disengaged employees?

  • X has been late on Y occasions with no real explanation.

  • X has a high short-term absence record for no apparent reason.

  • X has little or no energy when they come into work, and it’s very rare that I see them smile.

  • X is underperforming in Y areas, and this has been demonstrated in his/her monthly key performance indicators.

  • X never comes prepared to their one-to-ones and shows little or no interest in taking on additional responsibilities or getting involved in personal development.

  • X uses language like, “I can’t do that”, “I won’t be doing that”, and “I can’t be bothered to get involved.”

Have an open and honest conversation with your employee to understand the root cause of the problem so you can help them identify some possible solutions.  

Some of the skills that you could use in this situation include:  

  • Ask open questions  

  • starting with who, what, where, when and how.  

  • Listen and look out for how they feel when you ask the question. 

  • Look for both verbal and non-verbal signs  

  • Observe their body language 

  • Is it open, or is it closed?  

  • Do they appear to be uncomfortable or too relaxed?  

  • What does their body language tell you?  

  • Build rapport with them and seek to find some common areas of interest.  

  • You may need to share some personal information to achieve this; however, you will start to earn their trust in the process, and this will help you build a relationship with them.  

  • Never judge your team member.  

  • As soon as you begin to make judgements, you will lose their trust and respect.  

  • What may not be a big issue to you may be significant for them, and in this situation where they need your support and understanding. 

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