Did you know that 5 in 6 employees feel disconnected at work? The reality is that any employee can struggle with connecting with their work teams, no matter what their schedules, occupations, and backgrounds are and regardless of whether they are working remotely, in house, or on a hybrid model.
So, how can companies ensure that there is more engagement in work teams?
In order to restore engagement and positivity to the work environment, it’s important to know the signs of a disconnected team. Here are 7 of the most common signs of team disconnect:
1. Little To No Input
Observe how often your employees are giving you and others feedback. Do they seem to feel comfortable speaking their minds? Do they keep to themselves more than they have in the past? Are they quieter than usual?
To better understand how your team can offer their input, take the time to structure your discussions and create an environment where people are encouraged to share and interested in doing so.
Determine where people can best offer their input during team discussions and how their feedback would be beneficial to the task or project at hand.
2. They’re Feeling Isolated
Isolation can feel lonely and depressing, especially for people who are extroverted or more naturally social on the job. When someone feels isolated at work, they might perform poorly or decide to quit altogether.
Instead of allowing this state of affairs to continue, get to know your employees and their needs. Inquire about how best to communicate with them, work hard to establish a strong professional relationship, and then be sure to meet with them on a regular basis. Here are some ideas on how to connect with your employees in a more intentional way:
- Schedule regular check-ins (in the office or virtually at least monthly)
- Conduct icebreakers before meetings
- Plan social events for the team (in-person or virtual)
- Really get to know your team members as people
3. Missed Deadlines
Deadlines are very common in the workplace because they ensure that things are getting done in a timely manner. So what if someone misses a deadline? One mistake can be easily forgiven. We’re all human and should be given the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. But what if someone misses multiple deadlines? Then it becomes clear that something is wrong and it’s time to have a longer conversation.
First, make sure that the deadlines you set are reasonable to your employees, and don’t be afraid to accept feedback on your approach to structuring work input/output and project deadlines.
Ultimately, you’ll have to think about the following factors when setting deadlines for your employees:
- Your team members’ work schedules
- Any obligations they have beyond working for you (e.g., children, a second job, school, etc.)
- The types of projects and work that the company does
- Each person’s project load
4. Missed Meetings
Regardless of whether you have remote workers or in-house staff (or a combination of both), when you start to see that people are missing meetings, something is wrong. Consider the following explanations for why some people may be missing meetings:
- Being sick
- Other obligations (e.g., childcare, doctor visits, etc.)
- Technical issues (if you have remote employees), etc.
- Lack of clear expectations
- Disengagement or disinterest
Whatever the case may be, you should talk to your employees and explore the potential sources of the issue. Once you have a better understanding of what’s causing people to miss meetings, you will be better equipped to find a solution that works well for everyone.
5. Changes In Work Schedules
As a leader, it’s important to remember that employees are human beings who have various needs, responsibilities, and demands placed on their time. Sometimes, employees need time off, call in sick, or must tend to emergencies. In other words, life happens.
That said, don’t let yourself be taken advantage of or blindsided by surprise schedule changes. Establish an expectation that employees request time off in a reasonable way and with advance notice whenever possible, but remember to balance your expectations with being flexible and empathetic when the situation calls for it. Your team members deserve to be respected as people (and so do you).
6. Poor Quality of Work
When a previously top- or middle-performing employee suddenly slacks off, it’s a sign that something is wrong. Any of the following factors might be contributing to poor quality of work:
- Fatigue or burnout
- Rushing to finish
- Excessive or unreasonable workload
- Personal issues
When opening a conversation about work quality, ask your employees if they have experienced any of these issues before. If this is a pattern, you may need to have a different conversation than if it’s a one-off problem. It often takes the effort of the whole team to resolve the issues that are causing poor work performance, so be sure to listen to your team members’ perspectives and be open to their ideas.
7. Members Are Leaving
Losing people is hard on any organization, both in terms of the employee morale of the team members who remain as well as from a sheer cost perspective. Turnover takes a heavy toll.
Whether they’re leaving to pursue other jobs or aren’t happy with their current ones, it’s important to understand why people are moving along. Rather than simply accepting an employee exodus from the team or company, gather feedback on how to improve the work or team culture and try to make changes that would help you attract the talent you need and entice people to stay.
A lack of team connectivity can happen for many reasons and in organizations of all types. We hope that knowing the 7 common signs of team disconnect will help you overcome team challenges and build better, stronger relationships with your team members for the good of the entire organization.
About the Author
Jenny Han is a writer at Essay Writing Service. She is also a contributing writer for various online publications and sites. As a content writer, she writes about team building, remote work, and workplace culture.