Getting employees who have become disheartened with the company to re-engage with it can be one of the toughest jobs facing a manager, but one that must be done if you want your whole team to perform well.
Although it's a difficult task to accomplish, it is possible to achieve if you have the right tactics and are prepared to put in the time and effort.
Here are some simple ways that managers can motivate disengaged employees on their team:
Listen and understand their complaints
Few people are disengaged with a flawless company. It's much more likely that they feel wronged by something that has happened during their time at the business. To stand any chance of motivating them you need to not just listen to their complaints, but understand them. You may not agree with them, but recognizing where they are coming from and why they feel demoralized is a crucial part of encouraging them to become motivated again.
It may be that their problems can't be solved by you - maybe because they are historic or something business-wide that is out of your control - but they will feel much more positive knowing their manager at least understands.
Talk about their performance and why it matters
Often disengaged employees feel like a number or a small cog in a much bigger machine, so their performance doesn't matter to anyone. They feel as though they can easily be replaced in the team and that the company just wants what they can get from each employee. It's your job as a manager to make them feel valued both in the company and as part of your team.
Focus on the positives and how they are a crucial part of the team dynamic, even if this isn't strictly work related. This will then flow into conversation about how they could further improve and - most importantly - how you can help them make the most of their time at the company.
Talk about the big picture and set goals together
If an employee feels unvalued or underpaid, they deserve to know why this might have happened. Talk to them about the company's bigger picture, even its financial status if necessary, and reassure them that it is nothing to do with their performance. Once you have established what the overall needs of the business are right now, work with them to set goals that matter to them. It may be they want to do additional training or become involved in a different team, whatever it is, make sure they have everything they need to reach these targets.