30 JUL, 2015

Employee Engagement and the Golden Rule

Disengaged Gen Y Employee

Companies used to offer stable, longtime employment, career paths, relative job security, and steady pay increases. Few companies today do that, which is why far fewer employees offer their undying loyalty and full engagement.

Many managers believe that giving an employee a paycheck should buy all the extra effort, commitment, and creativity the employee possesses. This simply does not work in the long term. Offering competitive pay is important, but the effect wears off after a few months, especially in the face of poor company culture and lack of inspiration or opportunity.

  • If you’re wondering why you just can’t seem to get your employees to go the extra mile, ask yourself if you’re going the extra mile for them.
  • Your company will not change the way it operates to make employees happier.

Flex time? No way. More user-friendly tools and processes? Deal with it! Okay, so why would your employees work harder to make their company happier with their results? Employees will work hard for companies and managers who show that they care about their well-being. If you see them as “resources” they will see you as a paycheck and act accordingly.

Your company does not like employees doing anything personal during business hours.

No personal calls and no Facebook! Errands must be run after hours. So why should your employees do work during personal hours? Employers who enforce clock time vs. reaching goals or completing projects will breed clock watchers. The work environment should be as relaxed and welcoming as possible, especially if you want people to put in longer hours.

You only comment on their work when they mess up.

Their paychecks are recognition enough! Just remember, every job out there comes with a paycheck. And you want these under-appreciated employees to recommend others to work in your organization? To give you a great score on the Best Places to Work survey? Why should they speak nicely of you when you won’t give them the same courtesy?

You have never trained your managers to actually, you know, manage.

We only promote those who are the best at their jobs to management! That’s great, but is an excellent salesperson automatically an excellent manager of other salespeople? No, not always. So you have managers who make a lot more than their subordinates for doing a bad job, but you want their teams (who take direction from them) to do their best work every day? That’s just not realistic.

You don’t spend any time thinking about or working on the company culture.

Company culture? What’s that? Yet you want your employees to have great attitudes at all times? The atmosphere at the workplace might be the very thing that’s provoking bad behaviors. You also might unknowingly be encouraging culture killers like playing office politics, hoarding information, and lack of teamwork skills with either informal praise or formal rewards like promotions.

Your company will let an employee go if his or her work doesn’t benefit the company and its bottom line in some way.

Sorry, Steve, it’s just not working out. This is as it should be. However, you can’t expect any different of your employees. If the job is not providing adequate pay and benefits, training opportunities, career advancement, or whatever else they value, expect them to find jobs that will. Here’s the tricky thing—every employee has different motivations. It’s important during the hiring process to make sure the new hire’s goals match up with the opportunities your company and the open position offers.


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