Staff Disengagement – Top Trends and Remedies to Re-energize Your Workforce 2

Do you feel at times that your staff have tuned-out or have turned-off? Absenteeism on the rise? Is it getting more difficult to motivate others? Are you finding it more challenging to retain talent? Well you are not alone. Results of a survey conducted by Towers Perrin revealed that the number of staff who reported being highly engaged at work was only 17%. Fifty-Nine percent of those surveyed indicated that they were moderately engaged at best; and 24% said they were actively disengaged. And worse yet – those disengaged employees were busy acting out their unhappiness, undermining what the engaged co-workers were trying to accomplish.

What can you do to reverse this trend? 

What can managers and business leaders do to engage the hearts and minds of their employees? According to Dr. David Vik – author of, “The Culture Secret” it starts at the top. Every organization has an identity – a culture – that is best defined as the values, beliefs and attitudes that are shared by all members of the organization. Think of your organizations culture as the rudder that keeps the ship on course. Tony Hsieh – CEO of Zappos believes “If you get the culture right, then a lot of really amazing things happen on their own”. Without a solid foundation you stand little chance of retaining or attracting new talent.  Your mission or value statements should be more than a catchy phrase or sound bite. Every decision you make should be a reflection of those values or you shouldn’t do it. All too often there is a disconnect between what we say we are going to do – and what we actually do. All too often we send out mixed messages and lose sight of why we do what we do and for whom.

Have you given them enough reasons to want to stay?   

Everyone is competing for the same talent. Why would they want to work for your company instead of your competitors? What can you offer them that your competition can’t offer? How much fun are you to be around? If you want to attract new talent or more importantly – keep the talent you have – you need to give them a reason to want to stay. And trust me – it’s rarely about how much money you pay them. Yes – money is important – but it sits at about number four or five on the list of what motivates people. Based on the results of exit interviews conducted by the Saratoga Institute workers left because they felt devalued and unrecognized – there was a loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders – there was too little feedback and coaching or there was too few growth and advancement opportunities. Promote from within based on merit not seniority.

What are you prepared to do about it? 

“The real impediment to producing a higher quality product more efficiently aren’t the workers, union or non-union, it’s management” ( Kenneth Iverson). Change comes from the top down – never the bottom up. Nothing happens by chance. It takes a concerted effort on your part to insure everyone on your team is successful.  If you are looking to re-energize your workforce and attract new talent –  then it’s time to get FOCUSED(C) on what matters most – your people.

F – Friendly: Smile – build collaborative teams. Make everyone feel important.   

O – Observant: Reach out to those in need and teach them what they need to know. But, resist the urge to micro-manage.

C – Consistent: Treat everyone the same. Company policy and procedures are for everyone – specially your super stars.

U – Understanding: Be empathetic – See it from their point of view.

S – Sincere: If you truly want others to be successful it will show in the way that you treat them.

E – Energized: Be enthusiastic – lead by example. Be your team’s biggest cheerleader

D – Dependable: What ever you say you’re going to do – do it. They must be able to trust you.  Your word must be your bond.

Copyright 2013 – Brian Smith. May not be reproduced without permission.  Questions or comments? Please contact Brian directly. 🙂

Leadership Lessons: When Mistakes are Made Create a Teachable Moment 3

Coaching Session - Digi60 - Ottawa Film Festival

One of the best compliments I had ever received as a Manager was from an employee after I had disciplined her. It took her about 15 minutes after the fact before she realized what I had done. I was reminded of that incident the other day when a reader wrote me and asked me how to go about “calling attention to a person’s mistakes indirectly”. In my management training sessions I talk with team leaders, supervisors and managers about how they need to create “Teachable Moments”. Mistakes are inevitable. Mistakes will happen but discipline should always be a positive learning experience.

It’s difficult for anyone to take constructive criticism in a positive way. (As far as I’m  concerned there is no such thing as constructive criticism only positive feedback) People on the receiving end do take it personal. (It’s human nature) I know for the most part you are giving it for the right reasons.

When working with others it’s important to always be positive. You need to look at mistakes in a positive way. (Look at them as learning opportunities) When mistakes happen – and they will happen – you need to create an environment where it’s OK to fail. You need to create a “Teachable Moment”. You need to be able to separate the act (What the person did) from the person they are. (You’re OK; it’s what you did that isn’t. I don’t want to change you I just want to change what you did wrong.) Try using the “Sandwich Technique”. Think of a sandwich that has two slices of bread (whole wheat multi-grain, lightly buttered, hold the mayo) with a slice of lean roast beef, lettuce and a tomatoes. (If you’re going to eat this sandwich it might as well be a healthy one)

Try creating a “Teachable Moment” by following this simple recipe:

  1. The first thing you need to do is design the right environment. Make sure you have your teachable moment in an area that is conducive to learning. A quiet boardroom, office or on the shop floor if you are going to be teaching someone how to operate a piece of equipment, etc.
  2. Start the conversation off by saying something positive about the person. The years of experience they have that is invaluable to the department and organization. How they contribute to the overall success of the department. The first slice of bread will help you take your emotion out of the equation. The first slice of bread will help you separate the act from the person. Remember the person is OK; it’s the act that you want them to change.
  3. The lean roast beef in your sandwich is what you want them to change. It’s important to let the person know that it’s not them that needs to change but what they are doing. Let them know the negative impact the “act” is having on the team, department and organization. Let the person know you are there to help them be successful. Ask them what they think are the reasons mistakes are happening and what they would recommend be done to correct the problem(s). Together, work out a course of corrective action  that you both can agree on. However, it’s important that they own the plan.  If it’s your plan – and it fails – then you’ve given them an excuse why it failed. If it’s their plan they are more likely to “buy-in” to the process and make it happen.
  4. The second slice of bread is used to bring about closure. Let the person know that you are looking forward to working with them. Let them know that you will be following-up with them to ensure that the plan is getting the desired results. (People do what you inspect not what you expect) Always follow-up. Manage by walking around. Discipline should always be a positive learning experience. Be sure to praise performance. Let them know you are pleased with the progress they are making. “Catch people doing something right and give them a one minute praising” – Ken Blanchard – One Minute Manager.