As an employer, you will be well aware of the importance of having engaged staff in your workplace.
Engaged staff perform to the best of their ability and are productive. That means more success for the company going forward.
Engaged staff are also more likely to stick around rather than looking for new jobs and that’s a huge boost for your staff retention. It saves you time and money on recruitment.
Engaged staff have bought into the company values and like what it stands for. This means they are more likely to offer new ideas for moving forward and are keen to complete tasks and projects on time to the best of their ability.
An engaged team of staff is a happy staff and surely, that’s what all employers want for their team.
When employers employ young people to their team, making sure they are engaged is important so that you don’t find yourself losing them to the competition because they no longer want to work for your company.
Depending on their level of previous experience, some young people might be daunted at first by the workplace environment and it is important to address this immediately so that they soon feel at ease and are keen to get involved with tasks and projects.
If you have invested time and money in your recruitment of young talent, it makes sense to invest in them once they are in the workplace so that they are engaged.
How To Spot If Your Young Staff Are Disengaged
More often than not, new recruits will begin their new job wirth gusto and be engaged and on task. At some point, for some young staff, disengagement might begin to take over what was previously a great start to their time with your company.
Disengaged staff are not someone who isn’t good at their job. Your young recruits might have started out really well. But, over time, something has gone wrong for them and it is important that this is dealt with.
Disengaged staff are costly for your company because productivity will decline.
Disengaged staff are also more likely to complain about your company and this is bad for your company branding, too.
And disengaged staff can also have a detrimental effect on the morale of their coworkers. The disengagement can spread.
Eventually, disengaged staff will leave the company and you will find yourself spending valuable time and money on more recruitment.
So, how do you spot the tell tale signs that your young staff have become disengaged and what do you do about it?
The good news is, it is possible to turn things around.
Here are some signs to look out for that tell you if you young staff are becoming disengaged.
Increase In Absence
Everyone gets sick from time to time but is your young recruit taking more time off than normal whether through sick days or using up their holidays by booking odd days off rather than a block of days.
Disengaged staff are şess likely to want to make the effort to be in the workplace.
Lack Of Punctuality
If your staff member was always punctual at the beginning of their time with you but now, all of a sudden, arriving late to work or coming back late after lunch breaks has become more normal, this could be a sign that your staff member has become disengaged.
Lack Of Urgency
Tasks and projects that had previously been completed on time and to a high standard are now completed late, leaving other staff waiting for them to finish so they can complete their work.
Work that is completed is not completed to the high standards that it was previously.
Lack Of Interest In Career Development
Whether graduate recruits or Apprentices, has your new young recruit suddenly lost interest in wanting to further develop their career by attending course, doing more qualifications or inhouse training, for example?
If they were keen to learn and progress at the beginning of their employment and now they don’t show any interest in further development, this is a sign they are disengaged.
What You Can Do To Re-Engage Your Disengaged Staff
First and foremost, this is about finding out why your Apprentice or graduate recruit has become disengaged.
Is the problem just wirth one recruit or have many staff members become disengaged over time? If many staff are disengaged, there are strategies the company as a whole can put into place to make sure the same doesn’t happen in the future.
If it is just one young member of staff, an open and honest conversation could reveal the reasons for their current performance. It might simply be that they have realised their chosen career path really isn’t for them and if that’s the case, you can work with them to see which direction they want to go in the future. It might even be the case that you simply need to part company.
If there are a few staff members who are disengaged, however, there could be an issue with the culture of the workplace. Here are some strategies that can be put into place to change that workplace culture over time so that staff once again feel part of the team and have a positive feeling about the company they are working for. .
Give Staff The Opportunity To Share Any Issues With You
Find out what issues staff have with their current work situation. If you feel staff won’t feel able to discuss this openly with you, you could ask staff to do this anonymously in writing.
This might give you a more honest evaluation of what staff feel are the issues within the workplace that are causing them to feel disengaged.
It’s also a way to make your staff feel heard – they are being listened to and, where possible, problems might be rectified.
Young staff can become disengaged because they feel invisible in the company.
Say Thank You
It might sound simple but are you or any of your management team – depending on the size of your company – showing gratitude to your team of staff for their hard work?
A simple thank you can go a long way to making staff feel valued and engaged.
Ensure a culture of gratitude within the workplace. With younger staff, this makes them feel part of the team.
Assign A Buddy Or Mentor
For younger staff, especially in large companies, they might feel completely swamped by the workplace and feel overwhelmed. If they are left to their own devices for too long, they might feel invisible and that their presence isn’t really necessary.
Assigning them a buddy or a mentor can keep them engaged and on track with tasks and projects. That person can also be the person they go to with any questions or issues before those issues become too big.
A little bit of guidance can help to keep young recruits engaged.
Present A Framework
Why did you employ your young recruits? If they are doing an Apprenticeship or a graduate programme, tell them how they fit into the company plans and what you hope for them.
If possible, give them a framework so that they know what they are working towards.
Will your young Apprentices be given a fulltime job at the end of their Apprenticeship? Are there any further qualifications they can do afterwards to further their career? Is there a time frame for each part of the Apprenticeship? Are there any bonuses they can earn on top of their salary for extra projects?
Shorter time targets rather than a qualification in the distant future can help to keep young staff engaged in the workplace.
Have Informal Chats
As well as official reviews, take the time to have informal chats with your young staff. They won’t feel invisible and it also shows them your human side.
The benefit for you from this is that you could also find out more about your young recruits than just their work skills.
Other hobbies and interests they may have could make a positive contribution to the workplace. If they know you are showing an interest in them generally, this can help to re-engage them if they have become disengaged.
Allow Opportunities For Growth & Learning
This is about striking a balance between managing and guiding young recruits and also giving them the opportunity to work under their own initiative at the same time.
Allowing for this growth and independent learning can help to keep young recruits engaged as long as they know they have not become invisible in the workplace.
Saying thank you and giving feedback on the work they have done can help to keep them engaged. Allow them to make mistakes and give feedback on those mistakes so that they can learn from them and do better next time.
When staff become disengaged, this does not necessarily mean they are not capable of doing their job or that they are being lazy. Most staff become disengaged for a reason and on many occasions, it is possible to re-engage them.
This is true of young staff who might just need that extra bit of attention or guidance to settle them into the workplace and tackle their new role.
Recruitment can be costly and time consuming so boosting your staff retention and productivity by having an engaged staff benefits you as an employer or manager.