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Signs of Employee Disengagement

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on November 5, 2021 at 9:00 AM

Did you know that a mere 36% of U.S. employees are actively engaged in the workplace? 15% of employees are actively disengaged, but that still leaves 51% of employees coasting along without actively tuning in.

And that’s a danger sign.

Here are a few major red flags of employee disengagement–and how to get employees more engaged with safety.

Negative Behavior and Subtle Noncompliance

Here’s the good news: actively disengaged employees tend to be easy to spot thanks to negative behavior patterns. These are the employees that don’t have much of anything positive to say about the company–or any new direction the company takes.

As for those employees who are coasting along on autopilot but not actively disengaged, keep your eyes peeled for signs of subtle noncompliance. They’re not blatantly flouting the rules, but they’re also not going out of their way to wow you by following them either. It shows through in little mistakes that keep cropping up over and over again.

How to Get Employees More Engaged with Safety: Identify the Source of Negativity

In both cases, you have to identify the source of the negativity.

There are any number of reasons an employee might become negative. Maybe they’re having personal problems. Maybe they’re overwhelmed. Maybe they tried to speak up before and they were ignored.

Whatever the case may be, it’s your job to figure it out and show employees that you care–which means clear demonstrations that you want to be part of the solution. Give them clear evidence of something to be positive about.

Silent Treatment

Yes, some employees are naturally shy. But a naturally shy employee isn’t the same thing as a silent and disengaged employee.

A shy employee won’t talk because they’re nervous about making their voice heard. A disengaged employee won’t talk because they don’t care about having their voice heard. A shy employee will diligently pay attention but stay quiet when it comes time to chat. A disengaged employee may or may not pay attention and won’t contribute because they weren’t entirely listening.

How to Get Employees More Engaged with Safety: Listen and Show You Care

Ironically, the best way to approach a silent employee is by listening.

In many cases, disengaged employees keep quiet because they don’t think their voice matters. What’s the point in speaking up if no one’s paying attention, right? But as a manager, you need to overcome that mentality by proving that you’re paying attention.

This means two things. First, take the time to demonstrate an open door policy. Invite employees in (everyone, not just the silent ones) and talk about what could be improved. Second, follow through on what you hear immediately and consistently. The second one is especially important for getting a disengaged employee’s attention. It shows you’re good for your word.

The Tools You Need for a Strong Safety Culture

Figuring out how to get employees more engaged with safety is a safety culture issue, and it’s not a one-and-done deal. It requires ongoing investment in the quality of safety in your workplace.

That’s where we come in, with safety management software that allows you to take a bird’s eye view of safety so that you can make informed decisions for the good of your entire organization. Sound good? Then get in touch today to learn how we can help strengthen safety in your organization.

Topics: Workplace Health and Safety, EHS Management, Safety Management, Safety Culture, Human Resources

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