What is an engaged employee?
An engaged associate enthusiastically performs his/her work with high quality, superior productivity and little supervision. Experts say 25% of employees fit in this category.
What causes an engaged employee to become disengaged?
Obviously, there can be many reasons. It could be that the person was not the right fit for the job in the first place. But, more common reasons include lack of clarity in job duties and performance expectations, a perception of unimportance to the organization, de-motivating reward systems, anger over managerial changes in strategy, lack of advancement or inappropriate leadership styles.
Is there a common denominator?
It begins with ineffective communication. A climate that encourages honest feedback (not whining) is not established or promoted. Conflict avoidance prevents many leaders from learning what is at the heart of employee disenchantment.
So, a large number of disengaged employees can be saved with improved communication and sincere dedication to organizational quality and honest discourse?
Are you suggesting that all employees can be inspired to become highly productive and motivated associates?
It would be naïve to believe that. Disengaged employees who refuse to change must be removed from an organization as quickly as possible.
In this litigious society, do you think it is prudent to fire bad apples?
Yes, if it is done correctly. It is far more destructive to keep such employees in the workplace. Leaders who struggle with how to do this correctly should call for expert help.
Sometimes, high quality employees are hard to find. So, isn’t it smart to keep a disgruntled employee who can at least meet the minimum job requirements?
No. Leaders must believe that there is a person for whom this job is the best answer to his/her problems.
That seems hard to believe! Is this just wishful thinking?
No. If a leader believes that this job is so awful that no good person would want it, what does that say about this leader and the organization? There is a quality person who would love that job, particularly in this economy!
Why can’t I find this person?
You are probably fishing in the wrong stream. It is also possible that the job has not been properly structured, or the reward system is poorly designed. Again, expert professional assistance could help.
What can I do to start improving my organization today?
Three things! Define clearly the quality and productivity levels necessary for success in your organization and commit resources to achieve them. Honestly, explain your rationale for decisions that impact employees and use confidentiality (“I am not at liberty to answer that question today”) only when you must. Finally, demonstrate a concern for each employee as an individual.
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