A productive team is one where all members are singing from the same hymn sheet. It only takes one person to fall by the wayside to bring the entire team crashing down with them.

Everyone isn’t going to be on top form every single day. We are human and some days can simply be put down as bad days – it’s important to remember that – but when the bad days begin to outweigh the good, that’s when questions need to be asked. There are various reasons as to why an employee might become uninterested at work, some of which might not have anything to do with the job itself.

Purely from a business point of view, identifying issues early on can save time and money in the long run. If you allow for an employee to dampen the moral and atmosphere, the productivity and efficiency of the team as a whole will soon deteriorate.

The Early Signs

When an employee is suffering from a lack of motivation, early signs include; a lack of enthusiasm, less socialising with colleagues, turning up to work late (or dead on time if they usually arrive early), can regularly be found procrastinating (on the phone, social media etc…) and missing deadlines. Everyone is different and will display their own telltale signs.

Small differences in the employee’s behaviour should be the first red flag that something isn’t quite right. Even if their performance is yet to drop, invite them in for an informal chat – or make the effort to go to speak to them, even if it is not directly work-related.

Why Might an Employee Become Uninterested?

There are numerous factors that could result in an employee’s disinterest at work. Ranging from personal issues such as mental health and problems at home to feeling unsatisfied in their current job role. Before approaching, consider if anything has changed in the workplace that might coincide with the change in behaviour.

This could be anything such as:

  • A new member of the team
  • New manager/supervisor (did they apply for a promotion?)
  • Any change to the workplace (moved desks, new equipment or decoration etc…)
  • An employee(s) that has left the company
  • A disagreement in the workplace (this could make the employee feel uncomfortable)
  • New procedures
  • Extra responsibility is taken on by the employee (not every employee reacts well to extra responsibility)

It is important to remember that while you can offer support, you can only directly tackle issues that are in the workplace. Before you can do this, you must identify what the issue is in order to work towards solving it.

Not every person is the same and will react differently when approached, depending on how you decide to broach the subject, so make sure that you have multiple ideas ready to approach the situation. Handled correctly, the employee will come away feeling valued which may be all that is needed to reignite their interest in the workplace and set them on their way.

Getting Them Involved

If the employee in question is beginning to showcase signs of seclusion and is actively not participating within the team, you need to look at how you can get them engaging with their colleagues. Calling the employee into your office and demanding they start to engage with the team is not the correct way, as this risks making the employee feel even more disenfranchised.

Instead, creating a fun atmosphere that promotes engagement and teamwork is the best method of reintegrating a member of the team. Set aside some time in the day for team building events that all of the team will look forward to. Not only does this provide ample rest bite for all members of the team, giving them a break for the normal day-to-day tasks, but it also makes for a fantastic indirect means of bringing the employee back into the fold.