8 Ways To Combat Unhappy Workers

Imagine nearly 1 in 5 of your workers disengaged…really disengaged.  If your company coincides with the more than 17 million employees interviewed by Gallup researchers, 19 percent of your workers are actively disengaged.

Jim Clifton, author of “The Coming Jobs War”, defines actively disengaged workers as “destructive” and those who “undermine productivity.”

How can you reduce the negative impact of actively disengaged employees? Check out these strategies.

  1. First Break All The Rules. During the Institute’s August 2012 Knowledge Management Lunch and Learn workshop, facilitator John Nelson, Project Manager of DRC, shared that rule breakers are the innovative learners who embrace change and share knowledge. In their book, First, Break All the RulesMarcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman explain in detail many elements mangers employ for successful business outcomes.
  2. Clearly outline performance standards. Many workers receive a job description in the policies and procedures manual during employee orientation. However, job change, supervisors come and go. And with that, standards and expectations often are left unexplained until there is a problem.  Employees at world class companies are never surprised during performance evaluations. Do you and your employees understand what is expected of them?
  3. Authentic praise for good work. While it’s always nice to hear “good job,” or “thanks for your work,” these comments do not encourage excellence. Nor are they specific enough to reinforce good habits. In his blog article, “The Art of Giving Praise,” Steve DeMaio explains that specific praise such as “I liked the way your PowerPoint defined your expectations for our team. That really helps me.”
  4. Make everyone’s opinion count. Suggestion boxes are nice. Asking for input to improve is nice.  But nice doesn’t count when input becomes next day’s trash.  Simple rule: Only ask if you intend to listen and take action. All employees have valuable opinions and companies encourage engagement when opinions matter.
  5. Hire employees who believe in your mission. In order to hire exceptional talent, organizations and their employees should understand and celebrate the mission of the organization. When the mission is integrated into the hiring process, even spelled out in job postings, organizations can effectively hire people who are aligned with the purpose and vision of the company.
  6. Provide staff development.
  7. Genuinely care about colleagues and co-workers.
  8. Make progress reports a priority.  Often progress reports and reviews are the only time an employee and supervisor have uninterrupted time together.  Employees often take this time seriously and want quality input regarding the company, their place in the company and how to move forward together. Employers and supervisors who dismiss this as a low priority, send the signal that employee are not important.

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