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Employee Engagement Recruiting & Hiring

How to Tell if Your New Hire is Unmotivated

January 21, 2016
7 min read
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Hiring a new employee can be a rigorous task. Simply finding the right candidates, narrowing them down and then choosing the best from the bunch isn’t enough. Understanding whether or not you have hired a person of high caliber is absolutely essential to the quality of your workforce. Here’s how to tell if your new hire is unmotivated and how to handle each situation ethically.

1. Your new employee has a bad attitude

Your new hire should be your bright new addition to the team; they shouldn’t be dragging their feet in the workplace this early in the game (or really, ever).

One of the easiest ways to tell if your new employee doesn’t care about their newly appointed job is their level of professionalism.

Signs your new employee isn’t making efforts to be professional: 

  • They show up late to work
  • They show little care for personal hygiene
  • They produce hasty work that needs heavy editing
  • They don’t care to make meaningful connections with coworkers
  • They actively complain

how-to-tell-if-your-new-hire-is-unmotivated.jpegIf you see these signs coming from your employees, it's likely they don't care about their job:


If you see your new employee doing any of these things, take a moment to talk with them. Immediate, corrective feedback is the best course. Explain to them the future the company sees for them, and that these goals can only be met if every employee is doing their part to be professional, punctual, courteous and clean.

“For more personal issues, you can also emphasize the relationship between professionalism and advancement. Begin the conversation by talking about someone in a senior role, and discuss how she’s known for being the grammar guru or the first one to arrive for a meeting. Making the conversation about someone who “gets it” is a way to talk through expectations without putting the employee on the defensive. By covering how professionalism adds to your opinion of a colleague, you’ll also be addressing how it detracts when missing.”-Sara McCord, Writer, The Muse

2. Your new employee isn’t motivated

You may already know this, but employees who are unmotivated are performing at a lower level than your motivated employees — and they’re costing you money. What is the most costly feature of having an unmotivated employee?

Low productivity! When employees are unmotivated and underperforming, more motivated employees have to pick up the slack, which can put their tasks on hold, which yet again costs your company money. How can you tell if an employee is not motivated? Put project management or goal-setting software in place so you can immediately see who is hitting their goals and who is consistently falling short. 

To curb this effect, talk to your unmotivated employee, and connect company goals with that employee’s tasks. Show the direct impact an employee’s work has on the company as a whole. Showing this connection to company goals will give your unmotivated employee purpose and meaning in their everyday tasks. 


how-to-tell-if-your-new-hire-is-unmotivated.jpegNot sure how to address an unmotivated employee? Try this talk out:


3. They seem openly dissatisfied

If your new employee is visibly dissatisfied in the workplace, you have a problem. It’s one thing to be unprofessional, but if your new employee is openly upset at work on a regular basis, some serious steps need to be taken. Companies and organizations with higher-than-average levels of employee engagement saw 27% higher profits and 38% above-average productivity.

“When one employee lacks motivation, it can bring down the morale of the entire office. Gossip and complaining among the ranks can turn content employees against you. Dissatisfaction with their jobs can spread, and you may find that your employees want to quit.”-Carol Deeb, Contributor, Chron

In a recent study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the research found:

  • 25% of employees leave due to lack of recognition
  • 15% of employees leave because of money
  • 30% of employees leave because they don’t like their manager

The only way to fix a dissatisfied employee is to get to the root of the problem. Have a sit-down and ask your new employee why they seem dissatisfied. Maybe they hate that their new desk is seated directly in front of the bathroom. Maybe they are allergic to the only available coffee creamer in the office. Maybe it’s a bigger issue, or maybe your new employee isn’t cut out for your company. 


how-to-tell-if-your-new-hire-is-unmotivated.jpegThe solution to fixing a dissatisfied employee, right here:


The art of letting go

Sometimes it’s hard to admit defeat. We don’t want to believe that we chose the wrong person for the job, and we don’t want to throw the money spent on training that new employee away. Keeping an unmotivated, dissatisfied employee will cost you more than the money it takes to train them in the long run. 

Don’t look at it as defeat. Look at it as a learning opportunity. 

Don’t keep a disengaged newcomer to satisfy the thought that your initial hiring decision was correct. Talk to your new employees, and see if there is a solution you can both come to in order to restore a functioning work ethic.

Now that you know what to look for when evaluating whether your new hire is a good one, take a look at what ClearCompany can do for you.

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