I am a Scrum Master of a team in a department that has gone through a lot of changes.

My team isn't motivated to work or even engage in problem solving discussion. I have tried to do retros, feedback rounds, physical team building events etc.

The main feeling I get from the team is an indifference, lack of motivation to work and disengagement in general.

How to deal with people who are not interested in improving and growing?

3 Answers 3


I would review some leading theories on employee motivation, such as Pink's Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose theory, to learn what the experts are saying and to identify the gaps in my company where I might have some chance of making a meaningful change.

I would do all the positive things I can to move that needle and to move it as quickly as I can. However, they are still being paid for performance and, if their performance is lacking and continues to lack--maybe despite my best efforts to make positive changes--then there is a point where you need to cut bait and move on.

Simultaneously, prepare to make changes in personnel. Work with recruiting to being finding replacements and create yourself a pool. At some point, you'll need to move that lever.

Keep in mind that whatever killed the motivation of your current team will likely impact your new team, so you have some risk reduction activities ahead of you, too. If your firm's culture is such that you cannot make a meaningful change, then choose a deadline for yourself to find another landing spot.


There is very little you can do as a Scrum Master, or they can do as a team, if their company treated them in a way that made it clear they are just numbers to be pushed around on an organization chart.

People act the way you treat them. Treat them shitty and they will act shitty towards you.

This is not your fault, but that also means you cannot really fix it.

You can wait some time for them to get used to the new situation and figure out whether they can motivate themselves or whether they want to find a new job.

After some time and maybe some leaves, you can find out what would motivate the remaining people, but if management really screwed this up, be prepared to hear "nothing" because if they do not trust management, no promise or outlook into a brighter future means anything to them, other than "oh, look, another lie".

In the end, you can report this to management and it will be their decision whether they want to implement a new strategy to motivate their employees, or continue and replace people or even the whole team.

This does not seem to be a specific Scrum problem, you cannot really solve it with Scrum tools.


I would recommend 2 things to start. Vision and Voice.


Is the organisational vision clear and is it clear how everyone's work contributes to that vision.

Part of motivation at work is feeling like you are making a meaningful contributing to a higher level goal. This can come through as departmental objectives which relate to organisational goals. The departmental objectives then either breakdown into individual objectives or simply individual stories ( via features or epics, etc )


The second thing I would recommend is ensuring everyone has a voice. There are a number of ways of achieving this. Anonymous feedback, Ask Me Anything sessions, employee engagement surveys. The important thing is to address feedback that is received from employees in an open forum regularly, in your case that might be monthly to start with.

Hope that helps.

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