Dealing with Disinterested Employees


We can read your thoughts. You are thinking: ‘This can happen in a company populated with self-motivated employees who put customers’ and the company’s interests above their own. But in my company, employees are unproductive, lack motivation, are neither self-driven nor engaged with their work, and are not committed to the company. This is the state of my employees, even though they are fairly remunerated. How will this strategy work in my company?’

Indeed disengaged employees display many more behavioral traits that are harmful to the growth of a company. A partial list includes:

They display more enthusiasm while leaving than coming to the office.

They are clock-watchers.

They do not work harmoniously.

They are fault-finders.

Their work quality is tardy.

They spread negativity.

They do just enough to keep their jobs and take the monthly salary check.

They share their frustration with the customers.

The second group of the employees was previously engaged, but due to lack of career growth or promotions, unhappiness with their boss, or feeling unrecognized, they ceased to be involved in their jobs. The third group was dissatisfied and unhappy and showed it through their gestures, words, and behavior. They actively expressed their dissatisfaction and therefore spread negativity in the workplace. In short, they ended up demotivating other employees, making them feel wrong about the workplace.

Disinterested Employees

There is a solution to this seemingly intractable problem, that too, at near-zero cost.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, human beings have five types of requirements. These are organized in ascending order, from the most basic to the most complex. They are in order: physiological (basic need for food, clothing, and shelter); safety (need for security of employment, protecting.

Them from harm, etc.); love and belonging (need for friendship and community); esteem (desire to feel confident, striving for achievements, and maintaining self-respect); self-actualization (need to be creative, to be a problem solver).


Could it be that your enterprise merely fulfills your employees’ physiological needs by providing them a salary that takes care of their basic requirements of food, clothing, and shelter but does precious little to satisfy the next three needs: safety, love and belonging, and esteem? Yet, you expect your employees to perform at the level of self-actualization—where they become more productive and engaged and cooperate.

Let us go back to the three unfulfilled needs. When they are not adequately fulfilled, employees do not display any overt discomfort but internally become anxious and stressed. In this state, they cannot be productive or apply themselves.

Wholeheartedly to their work. They become wary of the enterprise. Their energies are diverted from performing their jobs to protecting their narrow self-interest at the enterprise’s expense.

What Should You Do?

Simple. You are already fulfilling their physiological needs. Now focus on fulfilling the other three unsatisfied needs as well.

Disinterested Employees

Take job security, for instance. An enterprise should ensure that employees feel secure in their jobs. Job security should be demonstrated through actions and not merely through words and intentions. During a downturn, pink slips should not be distributed under the garb of rightsizing. Be honest and open up about the need for this and how many jobs need to be cut. On other occasions, when your bottom line is under pressure, employees should not be asked to make sacrifices to bolster the bottom line. If an enterprise indulges in such behavior, the remaining employees feel insecure and anxious. They will cease to be self-motivated, believing what has happened to their colleagues may befall them too.

The next two hierarchies of need—love, and belonging, and esteem—can be addressed by focusing on one element: infuse a sense of ownership so that they feel ‘this is my company. How do you do this?

By actively pursuing two initiatives:

Engaging and empowering employees.

Instilling in them a sense of purpose and connecting it to their daily work.

While we wait and watch the changes happening around us and hope that they will prove to be beneficial to small-businesses in the long run, get the neglected parts of your business rolling. If you have specific requirements for a customized feature such as an internal social networking tool for your employees, connect with us for a free consultation on how it works and how you can benefit from it. We are always here to help and advice. We may not always share the same point of view with everyone, but we can always share values. Get in touch with HyperEffects to assist you with creating and maintaining a website. Also for any requirement-based features on your website, we are here to help and advice.

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