8 Sure-Fire Ways To DISengage Employees | EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IDEAS

In the words of John Cleese of Monty Python fame, "Now for something completely different." Today we take a bit of a break from the informative and insightful articles regularly written for those hard-working, enlightened managers and HR professionals that value their employees and are constantly looking for ways to improve the workplace experience...such as through implementing new employee engagement ideas.

Instead, we thought it was time to create an article for those managers and employers that simply don't get it. We, at The 2% Factor, have spoken to a lot of these people. In case you are wondering who I am writing of, they are the ones that hold one or more of the following views:

  1. As an employer, I am doing workers a favour by employing them;
  2. I don't pay for employee training because workers will quit afterwords and take that education with them; 
  3. Employees don't own (or run) this company...all they care about is collecting a pay cheque;
  4. It is irresponsible, as a manager, to give too much information to employees as it will just distract them and prevent them from completing their work;
  5. Managers are ALWAYS smarter and more capable than employees;

So, for all of you that fall into this category, here are 8 sure-fire ways to DISengage your employees and ensure you never need worry about building strong relationships with staff...Enjoy!


#1.  Be Secretive - Consider how damaging "transparency" can be to the average employee.  All they want to do is go to work, make it to the end of the day and collect their paycheque. Filling their heads with "big picture" ideas is setting them up for failure.  Employees can get overwhelmed easily and giving them unnecessary details, such as how the company's success rests on their agreeing to work on Saturday, isn't doing them any favours.  Besides, does the White House chef get briefed on what happened during the meeting between President Obama and the head of the CIA just because they both have the same boss? Of course not!

#2. Show Favouritism - Everybody wants to be liked which makes it that much more important for a manager to show their favourite employees how much more valuable they are than everyone else. Now, you may be thinking..."What about the other folks...won't learning they aren't a favourite of the boss hurt their feelings?" Well, it might, but isn't it better to hurt someone's feelings and be honest with them than to preserve their feelings and be a liar? Besides, this isn't grade school, it's business and as a manager, you can't be held responsible for an employee's low self-esteem and self-worth issues.

#3. Constantly Criticize - "Criticize" is just another word for "feedback". As a manager, it is your responsibility to provide constant feedback or "criticism" to your employees. This becomes even more important where the quality of an employee's work or idea is terrible and requires improvement. Failing to criticize the employee by providing honest feedback is setting that employee up for continued failure are you are robbing them the opportunity to improve.  Sure, some may think it necessary to "sugar coat" the truth for employees, but again, this wouldn't be honest. If an employee can't do anything right, they need to be aware of this so that they can strive to obtain your approval. 

#4. Micro-Manage Micro-managing could be negative if it weren't for the fact that as the manager, you are smarter and more capable than all of your employees. Micro-managing them simply indicates that you care enough about them and their work that you are willing to take your scarce, valuable time to tell them exactly what to do and how to do it. When a manager micro-manages, they do so for the benefit of the employee, to prevent less competent employees from experiencing embarrassment from their peers and other managers. This is done by helping them to do their work the the right way...your way...the first time.

#5. Belittle - More than ever, companies are expecting their employees to work as part of a team.  Naturally, there will be some employees that are smarter or better at what they do than others.  When those employees realize this, their egos can begin to affect their workplace behaviours as they no longer see a need to strive to do better.  Belittling these employees is an effective strategy for a manager to prevent these employees from believing they are doing too good a job and thus prevent employees from becoming complacent and arrogant. Belittled employees will be motivated to continuously improve themselves and their work, something they will one day thank you for.

#6. Discount Their Feelings - Sometimes the workplace can be an emotionally charged environment, especially amongst employees who are inherently less effective at controlling their emotions than managers naturally are.  When employees lose control of their feelings, such as when they come to you with "concerns" or "issues", they will naturally feel embarrassed and ashamed.  As their manager, it is important to discount, downplay, or completely ignore their feelings to help them save face.  By discounting their feelings, you will actually be helping them to preserve their dignity and self-respect in the work environment.

#7. Blame - Getting employees to take accountability for their actions (or lack thereof) when things go wrong is a crucial component of their development.  By blaming employees, you are helping them to become comfortable with the practice of taking accountability for their mistakes.  As a manager, you may not know what it is like to be at fault, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't takes steps to prepare your team for when they are. 

#8. Be Inflexible - As a manager, it is critical that your employees have confidence in your decision-making. When you decide upon a course of action to take, this confidence will waiver if you change your mind or reverse course after the fact.  Instead, once you decide upon a policy, strategy, or opportunity to take, stick to your guns and don't change it. Don't allow anything to cause you to deviate.  If new information arises, remember...if it was important, it would have come to light before you made your decision. 

While this list isn't exhaustive, executing any of these ways will certainly aid you in DISengaging your employees and preventing unnecessary distractions, such as handing out employee retention awards or planning staff appreciation events.  It will also ensure you develop strong relationships with local recruiting firms and employment lawyers!

Of course, if you care about your employees and their well-being and would rather engage and retain them, please DO NOT take any of the advice above!

Want to learn how to be a great leader of people? How building strong relationships with employees based on respect and trust?