5 Ways to Tell If Your Employees Lack Motivation

As a supervisor, you know how important employee engagement is. Engaged employees don’t merely perform well in their duties; they also care about helping the organization achieve its goals and embody its values.

The problem is, it’s not always easy to tell when an employee is lacking motivation. Even if you’re meeting with them regularly for performance evaluations and they’re doing their job well, they may simply be driven by a personal work ethic. As Gallup points out, while some employees are “actively” disengaged, by 2014, more than half of the American workforce was disengaged to some degree.

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According to Gallup, truly engaged employees are enthusiastic and “committed to their work and workplace.” These are qualities you can help team members cultivate. But first, you must know how to identify workers who aren’t engaged. The following are some less-obvious signs to look out for.

Low Initiative

Again, a team member who performs well in their duties isn’t necessarily engaged with the organization’s overall goals. To see where they stand, it helps to get outside the context of work.

Consider scheduling a day where employees can volunteer to visit schools, attend community meetings, or go to similar places to teach others about the work your company does. An engaged employee who cares about their work will show initiative and take this opportunity.

Unhealthy Habits

When employees aren’t getting fulfillment from their work, they’ll often look for satisfaction elsewhere. They drink too much coffee to stay motivated, eat too many sweets for the little dopamine rush, or take too many cigarette breaks to get away from their responsibilities.

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This isn’t mere speculation. Statistics show that engaged employees are generally healthier than disengaged employees.

Low Enthusiasm

Don’t assume a quiet employee is disengaged. They may simply be introverted.

That being said, you should take notice if an employee fails to express any enthusiasm when the team or company achieves a major goal. Engaged workers naturally care about the organization’s success. They’ll be genuinely excited about your big “wins.”

Little Interest in Learning

Some employees perform well in their roles simply because they’re already equipped with the experience and skills necessary to succeed. However, if they don’t express any interest in learning more about your industry then they don’t truly want to grow in the organization.

That’s a clear sign an employee is disengaged. Engaged workers attend training sessions, participate in development opportunities, and generally make it clear that they want to acquire more relevant skills and experience.

Wasting Their Free Time

Get in the habit of asking your team members about their weekends. Then, pay attention to how they answer.

Employees who derive satisfaction from their work carry that energy over into their free time. They generally spend their weekends pursuing other goals and interests.

Disengaged employees often waste their free time. They’re more likely to spend the weekend in bed or in front of the TV.

What You Can Do

Again, if you do learn that your employees are disengaged, there is plenty you can do to address the issue. One of the best ways to boost enthusiasm in a disengaged employee is to focus on their strengths. It’s easy to lose passion for a job if you’re not put in a position to thrive. By giving your employees opportunities to develop and show off their skills, you’ll give them a genuine reason to love their work.

It’s also important to clearly express the organization’s values and goals. Workers can’t embrace and adopt them if they don’t know what they are. That’s why supervisors must maintain a sense of true enthusiasm. That kind of attitude, when it’s genuine, is contagious. The more engaged you are, the more engaged your team will be. If you yourself feel unmotivated then you should read this article on how leaders can stay motivated.

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