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Motivation and employee engagement are perennial business concerns. There are more articles and news stories about increasing drops in performance and the costs of under-performing particularly in our current financial uncertainty. Part of this must have to do with employees settling into the reality of “more work for less people” and is a shift from the fear of having no job. I see it showing up in changing behaviors of some employees and in bottom line measurements where the limited resources create “creep” in the time it takes to complete tasks and projects.
So, what is turning employees off and making them check out and take mental vacations? For managers, here are some things to consider:
- Is there a gap between the specific description of a job during the hiring process and the reality of that job once the employee begins work? Also, if you are reassigning people during a “right-sizing,” make the gap as small as possible when explaining new responsibilities.
- Are there significant disconnects between employee group expectations and organizational expectations that cause employees to become confused.
- Is the final physical, concrete outcome the only thing on your mind? If so, you are probably not involved sufficiently with your reports professionally and personally to sense early signals of dissatisfaction or disconnect. Remember we spend time with things we care about. People notice.
- Are you including learning opportunities and professional development opportunities in the environment? Your interest in professional growth for an individual goes a very long way to promoting loyalty and longevity.
- Are you withholding information that gives the employees enough information to make them anxious but not enough to calm them down? This also accompanies the necessity for providing enough information to mitigate the rumor and gossip mills.
- If roles and responsibilities need to change, are you including everyone and their skills, past performance and interest in your assessment of how the restructuring should be done? It is important to understand if the employee believes they’ve been working hard and productively and should be considered for new projects. Many managers have been caught in the need to make quick decisions and handle the procedure poorly and give the job to someone with whom you have a close working relationship. Be thoughtful. The fallout lasts a long time.
- Is there a lack of accountability at all levels of a team? Are you indirectly asking people to “do as I say not as I do?” Are you shying away from taking staff related action? Remember you are being watched for how to understand what’s going on. Are you being the kind of person you want to be?
I’d be interested in the things you’re feeling and seeing on the job. Are you noticing changes? Also, if you’re a manager, how are you staying motivated? What support are you receiving? What new and creative approaches are being tried where you are?
- Impact Achievement Group Article Helps New Managers Supervise Difficult Direct Reports (prweb.com)
- What Is the Relationship Between Leadership & Employee Performance? (thinkup.waldenu.edu)
- Preoccupations: Here Comes a Turnover Storm (nytimes.com)
- The Collaborative Organization: How to Make Employee Networks Really Work – The Magazine – MIT Sloan Management Review (sloanreview.mit.edu)
- Ascent Management Consulting Introduces 21st Century “Performance Engagement,” Replacing Outdated Processes That Frustrate Managers and Employees (prweb.com)
- How Does the Quality of Leadership Impact Employee Motivation? (thinkup.waldenu.edu)
- 10 Creative Ideas for Employee Motivation Contests (brighthub.com)
Motivation and Employee Engagement