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7 Signs of Disengaged Employees

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Employee engagement is paramount in enhancing productivity and retention. When there is a proper employee engagement system in place, your employees will be more aligned with the organization’s values and goals.

However, all your efforts to achieve a workforce invested in the organization’s vision will become ineffective if your employees are disengaged. According to a Gallup survey, 51% of employees are not engaged at work, which certainly is a huge problem. And when there is an increase of disengaged employees within the organization, it is likely going to hurt you more in the long run.

As a manager, it becomes easy to point out the disengaged employees if you know the signs. This article will focus on the signs of disengagement that you need to know. But before jumping over to that topic let us have a look at a few points as to why your employees are disengaged.

Reasons behind a Disengaged Employee:

Below are a few reasons that lead to disengaged employees in your organization.

1. Poor Career Growth

An employee is more likely to be engaged in their jobs if they feel that their career is going in the right path. On the contrary, if your employees do not get the necessary training to upskill themselves, then they might be less driven towards their job and become disengaged at work.

When employees have fewer opportunities to grow their careers both personally and professionally, their job becomes monotonous and drastically diminishes job satisfaction. This results in a workplace where the employees are actively disengaged and negatively impact the organization’s efficiency.

Stats have shown that

2. Limited recognition

Recognition is an integral part of the company culture. Not only does it enhances employee morale, but it also improves the overall productivity of employees. When employees work well and get recognized they feel valued and get more attached to the organization.

On the other hand, if they do not get recognition, it hurts their enthusiasm, and it massively drops their confidence resulting in their disengagement. Furthermore, a lack of appreciation will significantly minimize the performance levels and make it difficult for the leaders to manage the employees.

3. Lack of Tools

Every employee wants to complete their job in the right way. But if they do not get the required tools to complete their tasks, then they will feel less satisfied with their workplace. Thus, resulting in low job satisfaction and increased levels of disengagement.

Understanding an employee’s needs and requirements is crucial so that they can fulfill their expectations and accomplish tremendous success for the organization. When employees cannot meet their expectations, it gravely impacts their belief to perform, which creates a sense of doubt in their own abilities.

4. Lapse in Communication

To excel at their jobs, employees need constant feedback throughout the year. It is only possible when there is total transparency of communication between the leaders and the employees.

However, if there is a lack of communication within the organization, the employees might feel lost with their work. They will not be able to analyze whether they are going towards the right path or not, which eventually leads to employees getting succumbed to disengagement.

5. No Delegation

A manager needs to delegate their employees before assigning tasks or jobs. With proper delegation, your employees are likely to become proficient in what they do.

However, if there is no delegation, then there are high possibilities that your employees are expected to make more mistakes. And it does not stop with errors; your employees become more prone to burnout which harms their performance. Thus, resulting in conflict between team members and thus increasing disengagement.

As a leader, you must be as approachable as you can be. Employees should feel comfortable around you so that they can come up with their queries and you provide them with the necessary guidance. A well-guided workforce has the ability to accomplish any goals set in front of them and attain greater success.

Figures that Matter

7 Signs That Your Employees Are Disengaged

Now that we have discussed what reasons might lead towards disengagement of employees let us now look at some of the signs that your employees are likely to show when they become disengaged.

1. Dropping Productivity


Your once highly engaged employees might be losing their productivity, which is a clear sign that they are going towards the road of disengagement. This can become a severe concern for any organization in the long run. It is crucial to figure out the early signs so that you can figure out their problem and work on solving it.

Drop-in productivity in a particular employee is going to affect the team as well. The specific individual might not bond well due to low morale and will not contribute much to the projects assigned. This will create a rift between the team members as the work will halt, and the team might miss their deadline. Such shortcomings will impact the effectiveness of the team and affect organizational performance.

You need to know this

2. Drop-in Quality of Work


Another sign of a disengaged employee is that they produce work, but it is not up to the desired level. They underperform and are very casual about it.

They often provide less output and never come up with their problems resulting in errors in their job. It can pose a long term threat to your bottom line if you do not figure out what exactly bothers them and what they need.

3. Employees Going Quiet


If you see an employee suddenly going quiet all of a sudden, then it is a clear sign that the employee is disengaged. There are chances that they might pull out of conversations and stay gloomy in their own space.

If such cases continue for an extended period, then the matter of disengagement is not getting any better. It is going to affect them psychologically, and there are chances that they might drift apart from the team eventually quitting their jobs.

Stats don’t lie

4. Having Anger Issues


Engagement levels will undoubtedly get affected when a calm employee suddenly starts having anger issues at work. Situations like these give rise to an uncomfortable work environment, further involving other members of the team.

When such things happen, it is clear that the particular employee is not satisfied with their job and is succumbing to disengagement—furthermore, leading to a decrease in morale and conflicts among teams

5. Late at Work and Leaving Early


Getting late for work at times can happen to anyone. It might be due to some personal work or some emergency. However, disengaged employees have that tendency to arrive late for work and leave early purposely. And it does not stop there. If the trend continues for a prolonged period, then there are chances that the disengaged employee will eventually leave the organization.

It depends on you to monitor those employees who have frequently been doing it. Having a one-on-one conversation might be the best possible option for you to understand their problems and to solve them as soon as possible. Be friendly, emphatic, and respect their perspective. Assure them that the management will do their best to support them during their difficult times.

6. Absenteeism


Employee motivation is quite important when we talk about employees being committed to the organization. When there is a sense of purpose in them, employees will be more likely to be the front runners to take the organization towards the next big step.

However, if they feel that the job is not a great fit for them, they will be less driven towards the company’s purpose. They will try to avoid work, increasing absenteeism and eventually leading to disengagement.

Did you know?

7. Avoiding Responsibilities


Engaged employees are more likely to be open to responsibilities and new challenges. However, disengaged employees do the opposite quite often. They try to avoid problems and make excuses when it comes to taking responsibility. On top of that, they do not have any input of their own and lack the desire to get involved in team-building activities.

It is a sign that they do not want to get involved much and skirt away from duties making them more disengaged.

What can Leaders do to tackle the issue of disengaged employees?

It is important to note that the issue of disengaged employees is not an easy task to solve. It requires correct planning and the right approach to help you solve the problem in the long run. Below are a few ways HR leaders can tackle the issue efficiently.

1. Addressing the root cause of why the employees are disengaged is a good way to start. As a leader, you must thoroughly assess your workforce with the help of surveys and one-on-one conversations. And if conducting surveys is your concern, you can check out various tools available in the market.


For example, Vantage Circle's Vantage Pulse Survey tool enables an HR leader to curate their desired questions and conduct the necessary survey selectively. Moreover, the tool allows the employees to stay anonymous while genuinely answering the questions in the survey. This will help leaders to generate the reasons why employees are lacking behind.


Once the underlying causes are identified, the HR leaders can take appropriate action to address them.

2. Fostering a positive work culture establishes a supportive, inclusive, and respectful work environment. Such work cultures promote collaboration, trust, and open communication. Moreover, when organizations focus more on their people and enable a work structure that emphasizes the well-being of the employees, it positively impacts the workforce's overall engagement.

In the long run, it diminishes the chances of having a disengaged workforce.

3. Providing growth and development opportunities is another critical aspect that can help solve the problem of disengaged employees. Employees need to improve their learning curve and upskill with time. This helps them in their personal and professional growth, which helps them evolve as an employee and make them experts in their field of work.

HRs can develop relevant training regimes and provide mentorship, which will help them choose the right career path according to their skills and competencies.

4. Provide on-time rewards and recognition to the employees for their efforts and hard work. This essential step will help you improve your employee engagement efforts. Employees want some validation from their leaders for the work they do. And you must meet their expectations and reward them timely.

And since everything we do now has gone virtual, rewarding your employees should also be done virtually. For example, you can socially recognize them or give them redeemable reward points through online platforms like Vantage Circle's Rewards and Recognition platform. This tool allows you to spot reward your employees with numerous badges. You even have the flexibility to white label it and use it accordingly.


The eventual goal is to have a system that will allow you to give tangible rewards to the employees in time and create a happy workforce.

5. Focus on employee empowerment while giving them an equal voice. You must involve employees in the decision-making process and listen to their opinions. This will make them feel valued and be part of a procedure that will bring positive change. Moreover, it will showcase that you don't think of employees as just your assets but as integral parts of the organization.

Summing it Up!

Human resources departments and leaders have always found it difficult to elevate employee engagement levels. It is a matter of grave concern that needs quick-fire solutions. Never take disengaged employees as a burden. Instead, try to solve their issues and help them become more driven towards their work. When you provide the necessary solutions to your employees, they will feel more valued and align themselves toward the organization’s goals that can significantly improve the overall bottom line.


Q. How can a company measure and assess employee engagement levels?

A. Companies can measure and assess employee engagement levels through various methods that include-

  • Employee surveys.

  • Feedback sessions.

  • One-on-one conversations.

  • Observation of employee behavior.

  • Analyzing Key Performance Indicators related to productivity, turnover rates, and absenteeism.

Q. What are the negative impacts of disengaged employees on team dynamics and work culture?

A. The negative impacts of disengaged employees on team dynamics and work culture include the following-

  • Reduced teamwork and collaboration.

  • Decreased morale among team members.

  • Increased conflicts or tension.

  • Low level of trust and communication.

Q. What is the role of leadership in preventing and addressing employee disengagement in the workplace?

A. The role of leadership is critical in preventing and addressing employee disengagement in the workplace. It involves doing things like-

  • Setting clear expectations.

  • Providing regular feedback and recognition.

  • Fostering a positive work culture.

  • Promoting open communication.

  • Addressing employee’s concerns, and

  • Leading by example to inspire and engage employees.

Mrinmoy Rabha is a content writer and digital marketer at Vantage Circle. He is an avid follower of football and passionate about singing. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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