A question was raised recently about what causes employee disengagement and what can be done about it. This is a broad subject and requires investigating the root cause of the disengagement before the best course of action can be determined. The danger of applying a one-size-fits-all approach is that only the symptoms are treated and the underlying problems persist. This may provide temporary relief but you will soon be dealing with the same problem again, and again, and again.
The first thing to do is isolate the problem and identify where it stems from. If it is the disengagement is not widespread and is affecting a very small number of employees then it is probably an employee-specific issue. A conversation with the unhappy employee should be had at once. The reasons can range from personal issues to job mismatch to boredom.
If the problem is personal, then be empathetic but also provide feedback about the impact it is having on the job. Oftentimes people are not aware of how visible their emotions are. If the employee is disengaged because they are struggling with the job then it is only fair to provide feedback and offer additional training or performance management if the situation is hopeless. People stick with jobs that they do not have the skills to perform for a variety of reasons but the bottom line is it hurts them and the company in the long run. Another reason for disengagement is boredom. Boredom can create all kinds of problems and distractions in the workplace. If the employee is competent and wants to work you are in for a pleasant surprise. Find this person some work to do whether it is in their job duty or not and you will have one happy employee and a lot of productivity.
On the other hand, if employee disengagement is widespread then look to the top for the root cause. If there is a higher than expected amount of disengagement in one department but the rest of the departments are functioning smoothly then take a close look at the department manager. If there is general malaise across departments then look to the head of the division. More often than not the problem is with the manager, either because the manager avoids dealing with issues or because of poor management skills. Poor management skills can include lack of communication, lack of vision, inability to make a decision, or lack of feedback among others things.
Whatever the reason, it is imperative to deal with the issues immediately. Festering bad attitudes have a way of poisoning the well quickly and will make for a much larger undertaking than dealing with it right away. Managers who stick their head in the sand avoiding the issue in hopes that it will go away are in for a rude awakening. Problems do not go away, they continue to grow and become more difficult to solve. The good news is that addressing the issue head on is rarely as much of a conflict in reality as it can be perceived to be. A management coach can be a great resource to help develop skill in this area.
Visit my website at www.coachandmentor.net to learn more about the benefits or coaching.

Author's Bio: 

Liz Peterson is a management consultant specializing in teaching
basic management skills and helping people create their visions
and achieve results.
She has 10 years of experience developing teams and individuals
in the financial services industry.
Liz is a member of the American Management Association.