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Active Disengagement

Managers- have you ever had an employee that is your top performer but lately has been missing deadlines, projects, and forecast?

How can you identify the root cause of this active disengagement?

What steps do you put in place to get them back on track and elevate them back to the top performer you know they can be?


  • Hi Priyanka,

    I love this question and think it's an important one that spans across industries - I've had this happen many times... here's how I went about it:

    Before identifying the root cause, think about these other factors:

    • Did something happen recently within your organization to increase stress (ie. change of manager, change of goals, new processes or products that they're unfamiliar with)?
    • Has the top performer shared any information to their direct manager or another member of management?
    • Did they recently go for a promotion and were passed over? What was the reason?

    Then start a conversation and lay it all out on the table. That’s HOW to identify where the disengagement is with the employee.

    I think together there can be a coaching plan or action plan (something tangible) made to get them where they once were with their performance. Leverage their performance - their strengths, their areas of improvement and next steps in their career that they’re working towards. Ensure that the plan has actions (what are you responsible for and what are they owning and also what are the dates for the actions to be completed).

  • Hi Tiffany and Priyanka,

    I love this question and your response, Tiffany. I find that sitting down and having a conversation that is based in curiosity for them. I start every conversation with the following question in my head "I wonder what is on their plate right now that I do not know about?" This allows me to set aside my frustration, anger or whatever other emotion I have to find out what is going on and be a partner with them. Note, I am not there to solve the issue, yet, I am there to be a support to them in becoming engaged again.

    I find with top performers that start to show performance issues is that there are things going on that are having an impact. Tiffany did a great job covering the work related items. Yet, many times there are things going on at home. A couple examples include a divorce, mental illness, empty nest, drug or alcohol addiction, a sick parent that may have moved in with them, etc. This is where HR becomes super important. Things to think about are your EAP program, FMLA, reasonable accommodations under ADA. A reasonable accommodation may be an alternative work schedule. Company culture will have an impact on what the actions are and how much a company can flex with time specifically. Yet, accountability is so important.

    I love the combination of compliance & culture that impacts our employee engagement.

    Thanks for such a great question!


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