Workplace Culture: Catch or Release Disengaged Employees

Sep 7, 2017

Workplace culture: catch or release disengaged employees. Yep, that’s right. I want you to catch them if they’re disengaged and then I want you to release them. Or maybe you need to take a look at your workplace culture. Watch this episode to find out how you can motivate disengaged employees in your company, or read the post below covering the same information.


Now we’ve all been around someone in our workplace who just doesn’t want to be there. Now you can easily identify them just by listening to their language patterns.

You see, disengaged employees are people that just don’t seem to care about their position or the company, and you know what? They really have no intention in helping it grow so they can be extremely damaging if you don’t take action to improve them.

So there’s really two places where you can work to improve your disengaged employees and the first thing you really want to do is look at your workplace culture.

Workplace Culture

Because see, your culture is the character and personality of your entire organization.

Let’s cover a few common workplace culture issues facing many, many businesses today. They’re dealing with decreased productivity, lack of quality, their employees just aren’t innovative, they’re dealing with misunderstood attitudes, relationships between coworkers, just plain old lack of motivation, they just don’t seem to be motivated to get things done. They lack the initiative and certainly aren’t participating in teamwork, and most importantly they lack personal accountability.


If you’re dealing with any of these issues, you have to know that it starts with your workplace culture. It starts with your leadership, that’s right, it starts with you. Maybe you need to look in the mirror.

Now a few years ago, I was dealing with a lot of turnover in my company, and I was at a mastermind event and one of the members said, “Look, Ford, who’s always at the scene of the crime? It’s you.” And he was right, it was me. I had good employees, but I wasn’t leading them properly.

What about you? Maybe the people who are disengaged on your team aren’t disengaged because they’re bad employees. Maybe it’s because you’re not providing the culture where they can thrive.


What kind of environment do you have for your employees?

Right now, I have an open office environment, because I have a lot of millennials on my team and they love to collaborate and they like the open environment. Personally, I was happy when they were all in little cubicles, but they weren’t happy. It doesn’t really matter what I want, because happy employees produce better results.


Then it comes down to trust. Are you trusting your employees? Are you creating a community of trust? Are you making it easy for them to communicate to you what their needs are? What type of reaction do you have if they make a mistake or have a question about something?

I did the worst thing you could do. I actually had cubicles with cameras above all of the stations, because I thought it would help me monitor. Then I was dealing with people that said “No, Ford, no. That’s just wrong. Everybody rebelled.” I took the cameras out, went to an open office environment, and my team’s productivity soared. So again, I’ve made some mistakes along the way and I’m sure you’ve made a few mistakes too.


Which brings me to procedures. What kind of procedures do you have in your company? Are they clearly identified? Do the people in each role know what success looks like? And most importantly, what are you doing to reward them? Are you doing anything to celebrate the success that they have? We have checklists for all of the actions that we repeat. It helps keep my team accountable and on track to personal and company success. Then we provide rewards such as free lunch Friday when we collectively meet the goals we’ve set up.


Another important thing to consider is the generation gaps in your company. Now in my company, I’m in my 50s and I’ve got a lot of people in their 20s. Well, think about your company. There’s probably Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, traditionalists, Boomers…who gives a shit? I don’t care about all the different generation gaps, but you do need to know that each generation has been shaped by what was going on in their life when they grew up. So they’re going to think differently than you think, and you need to embrace the different styles.

Which brings me down to communication. You need to make sure that you have effective communication in all directions. Upline, down line, and cross line.

How would you describe your workplace culture? Are you and your team members of the same mindset? Do you have the same perceptions? Do you have the same roles? Does everybody know what their role is on the team?

And what about the goals? If you were to bring everybody together and ask them what are the goals of your company, would they all come up with the same thing? Not so sure. All of the companies I’ve worked with have benefitted by improving their workplace culture.

Individual Employees

Now once you feel like you’ve got your workplace culture, then you look at the individual employees. Look at their communication styles, their attitudes, and their behaviors.

If you have any employee that’s not willing to help improve the company culture, you need to let them go. That’s right, let them go. Free them up for new opportunities. Fire their ass. Get rid of them. Because they will drain the rest of your team and it’ll just kill all of your productivity. Talk about disengaged. One disengaged employee can disengage the entire bunch.

So here’s your action step for this week’s episode: make a goal for your team, keep it small at first, then decide: how are you going to motivate them individually and as a team? Then what are you going to do to celebrate once they’ve reached that goal.


Author: Ford Saeks, Business Growth Specialist, Keynote Speaker, Author and Consultant. Helping you find, attract, and keep your customers. Find out more about Ford


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