Posts Tagged ‘Disengagement’
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This executive coaching client is a rising star in his company.
Working in a Fortune 100 company with 300,000 employees, Jonathan (not his real name) has consistently received high performance marks and has for 12 years. He is acknowledged for adding value to the company and consistently promoted from entry level to a senior manager role.
With each promotion he received the standard 5% pay increase.
Recently, his boss was hired away. Jonathan is on the short list for another promotion. Let’s celebrate, right?
Not so quick, sorry.
Jonathan has been a loyal, contributor for 12 years and received six, 5% promotion-based pay increases. He recently learned his boss who left for another operation had been recruited at same pay grade but with a $40,000 per year salary difference. How would that impact your employee loyalty and engagement?
Based on his 12 year story and factual data points, he made a compelling appeal to his boss; she totally agreed with his assessment. He is not appropriately compensated.
“Unfortunately,” she said, “you were hired in at entry level and have worked your way up through the company. (Just like we set it up…) Now, for you to be paid fair market value for your position you will most likely need to look outside the company.”
Can you imagine?
For 12 years you gave of your heart and soul to “the company”…sacrificing to meet expectations…developing yourself professionally…recognized as a high performer…fast track promotions…and now, you discovern your comp plan places you in the bottom of the market?
Now, only Jonathan’s character keeps him contributing. Now, as reality sets in he starts searching for appreciation and respect.
What will this decision cost the company?
A mere $250,000 to $300,000 in “hidden” turnover expense!
How can this happen?
Business eats people.
By business I mean a company or organization that buys and sells goods, make products, or provides services; “business eats people” to accomplish this activity whether for profit or not-for-profit. This is not about it being “right or wrong”. It just is. Business consumes taking the time and energy, creativity and ideas, talent and skills, relationship connections to create.
Labor Day, Let’s All Celebrate!
Here in the USA we just “celebrated” Labor Day. Other than marking the end of summer, what do you know about this Federal holiday? Yes, we all know it is observed on the first Monday every September, but what about the origin? According to the U. S. Department of Labor
Labor Day…is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. (Emphasis added)
Note that this is NOT a politically-oriented post, it is people-oriented. We continue with Wikipedia adding to the story…
The first Labor Day in the United States was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. Military and U. S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.
The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,” followed by a festival for the workers and their families.
This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday proceeding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement. (Emphasis added)
The original focus of the “labor movement” was about the people…the story continues:
The term labor movement is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and governments, in particular through the implementation of specific laws governing labor relations.
Although the birth of Labor Day has an unfortunate history, this Nationwide Holiday is designed to celebrate the American Worker. Consider the intended focus…
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.
That “the nation pays tribute to The Creator of so much opportunity, freedom and leadership” is reserved for another National Holiday: Thanksgiving Day.
But you ask, what about this “Business Eats People”?
There is some good news here.
Hope comes in a couple of ways to my way of thinking as I look at this story:
- People: The business of business is people. More than a slogan, without you, the “American worker”…without Jonathan a great customer experience is not possible. Nothing ships. Nothing is invented. The level of performance for any business or organization misses the mark of full potential without people who make want to make a difference in the world.
- Leadership: The role of a leader is to influence how business is done while in pursuit of profit. Please notice “profit” it is not a four-letter word; without earnings there is no expansion or growth. In a competitive and ever changing environment no growth leads to death; right?
- Responsibility: Your role is to pay attention living around the “beast”. No responsible parent will knowingly place their child in danger? Considering a fun trip to the zoo? Signs are posted, glass walls, fences, and ravines are present to keep everyone safe.
Here are a few thoughts and questions to start help you reflect on your work-life balance and personal responsibility in your relationship with business and organizations? Notice the sign at the front door…
Warning: This Business eats People, you are Responsible to:
- Clarify Values: what matters to you? What do you value? How well are your daily decisions guided by your values? Where do you have conflict between your values?
- Establish Priorities: what is really important?
- Set Boundaries: do you know your limits? There comes a point when something crosses a line and becomes something else; when being “available” becomes (fill in the blank…) “being driven…a control freak…a perfectionist.”
What else would you include on the sign?
Based on this reality that “Business Eats People” what additional responsibilities do you think of?
How are you managing the demands of business (work) on your life?
Please comment below; I’d love to hear from you. Who might you share today’s post with?
Photo by Xlibber
What is the pace of your life these days?
That is the question I posed last week during a group coaching session. We were about to discuss “The Path to Future Success” — what is the pace of your life?
Here are the some of the responses those leaders gave:
- Speed of light
- Laid back due to uncertainty/change
- Adapting to circumstances
- Extremely fast, no down time
- Usually fast, slowing it forcibly
- Fast and Furious
Where do you identify?
What happens when you are overly occupied with activity? What’s the impact of being so committed to something that you are unable to undertake another activity of a greater value?
When does your schedule seem ridiculous…to the point that it’s not practical or showing good sense, “it’s crazy”? What is that costing you?
What is the affect when you are doing nearly everything in “fast” mode?
What’s your world like?
Did you see the Peter Bregman’s recent Harvard Business Review blog, “Why I Returned My iPad”? I appreciate his candor; what do you think?
A little more than a week after buying the iPad, I returned it to Apple. The problem wasn’t the iPad exactly, though it has some flaws. The problem was me.
I like technology, but I’m not an early adopter. I waited for the second-generation iPod, the second-generation iPhone, and the second-generation MacBook Air.
But the iPad was different. So sleek. So cool. So transformational. And, I figured, since it’s so similar to the iPhone, most of the kinks would already be worked out.
So at 4 PM on the day the 3G iPad was released, for the first time in my life, I waited in line for two hours to make a purchase.
I set up my iPad in the store because I wanted to make sure I could start using it the very moment I bought it. And use it I did. I carried it with me everywhere; it’s so small and thin and light, why not bring it along?
I did my email on it, of course. But I also wrote articles using Pages. I watched episodes of Weeds on Netflix. I checked the news, the weather, and the traffic. And, of course, I proudly showed it to, well, anyone who indicated the least bit of interest.
It didn’t take long for me to encounter the dark side of this revolutionary device: it’s too good.
It’s too easy. Too accessible. Both too fast and too long-lasting. Certainly there are some kinks, but nothing monumental. For the most part, it does everything I could want. Which, as it turns out, is a problem.
Sure I might want to watch an episode of Weeds before going to sleep. But should I? It really is hard to stop after just one episode. And two hours later, I’m entertained and tired, but am I really better off? Or would it have been better to get seven hours of sleep instead of five?
The brilliance of the iPad is that it’s the anytime-anywhere computer. On the subway. In the hall, waiting for the elevator. In a car on the way to the airport. Any free moment becomes a potential iPad moment. (emphasis added)
The iPhone can do roughly the same thing, but not exactly. Who wants to watch a movie in bed on an iPhone?
So why is this a problem? It sounds like I was super-productive. Every extra minute, I was either producing or consuming.
Every extra minute, I was either producing or consuming. Sound familiar?
How is this pace affecting your life?
That’s the question I ask my coaching group next; here are their responses?
- Impacts my outlook on life
- My health
- Lacking a sense of direction
- Miss-focused, not concentrating on what is important
- Feeling short-changed
- Feeling out of control
- Questioning: Where am I? Who am I?
- Loss of contentment
- Drinking more Red Bull
- Loss of quality
- Out of balance
- Hurting my performance
- Impacting my life
- Hard on relationships
Now, how is the pace of life impacting you?
Life is accelerated, everything seems to happen faster, develop faster, change faster.
The point of the coaching session was to establish how to accelerate personal growth.
Here’s the principle to consider…
The way to accelerate personal growth is to slow life down.
How will you slow down your life today?
What’s one thing that is so doable it’s laughable? What can you do that will help slow life down?
Tell us what you think.
Please leave your comment about this post on the comment section below.
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What is your most important asset?
“People are our most important asset.” That is the slogan, right?
If they are, then why the rush to reduce headcount when the economy hits a tough spot?
Consider the plight of the airline industry following 911. In the Newsweek article, “Lay Off the Layoffs” Jeffrey Pfeffer writes about business overreliance on downsizing and the effect it is having. Consider these excerpts:
On Sept. 12, 2001, there were no commercial flights in the United States. It was uncertain when airlines would be permitted to start flying again—or how many customers would be on them. Airlines faced not only the tragedy of 9/11 but the fact that economy was entering a recession. So almost immediately, all the U.S. airlines, save one, did what so many U.S. corporations are particularly skilled at doing: they began announcing tens of thousands of layoffs. Today the one airline that didn’t cut staff, Southwest, still has never had an involuntary layoff in its almost 40-year history. It’s now the largest domestic U.S. airline and has a market capitalization bigger than all its domestic competitors combined. As its former head of human resources once told me: “If people are your most important assets, why would you get rid of them?”
Managers also underestimate the extent to which layoffs reduce morale and increase fear in the workplace. The AMA survey found that 88 percent of the companies that had downsized said that morale had declined. That carries costs, now and in the future. When the current recession ends, the first thing lots of employees are going to do is to look for another job. In the face of management actions that signal that companies don’t value employees, virtually every human-resource consulting firm reports high levels of employee disengagement and distrust of management. The Gallup organization finds that active disengagement — which Gallup defines as working to sabotage the performance of your employer—ranges from 16 percent to 19 percent. Employees who are unhappy and stressed out are more likely to steal from their employers—an especially large problem for retailers, where employee theft typically exceeds shoplifting losses…
Companies that behave humanely—by providing generous severance packages and allowing displaced employees to say goodbye to colleagues rather than marching them out the door—are likely to see a smaller hit to morale…
The facts seem clear. Layoffs are mostly bad for companies, harmful for the economy, and devastating for employees. This is not news, or should not be. There is substantial research literature in fields from epidemiology to organizational behavior documenting these effects. The damage from overzealous downsizing will linger even as the economy recovers… (Emphasis added)
If people are your “most important assets”, how do they know that to be true?
What do you think?
Please encourage the discussion by posting your thoughts.
How will you move your engagement to the next level?
Whether you lead the company, own your business, manage a department, or “work for…” — employee engagement matters.
Reality check: employers & employees, leaders & teams, managers & staff – you are in this together, or not.
In light of the fact that the “or not” path is very expensive, it pays to give attention. Yes, there is a reduction of pain and an increase in profit with every percentage point increase of…engaged people.
What do we know about people engagement at work?
- Chronic employee disengagement is very costly to business and people
- Relationship concepts:
- Having Voice
- Step One of engagement is in your court: how engaged are you?
- The 3 levels of employee engagement:
- “Engaged” – a contributor
- “Not engaged” – a wait-and-see attitude
- The “actively disengaged” – consistently against virtually everything
- Disengagement is an emotionally painful way to work and live for everyone
- Gallup suggests 55% of all U.S. workers are not engaged while another 16% are actively disengaged
- There is some good news…the opportunity for growth
- Commitment and passion are basic to long term employee engagement
Note: For more information, visit my previous posts starting with Employee a.k.a. People Engagement
What are the keys to engagement?
In the book Closing the Engagement Gap, Julie Gebauer and Don Lowman share Towers Perrin’s groundbreaking research and knowledge around employee engagement. They draw on stories from CEOs, managers and employees at eight extraordinary organizations in technology, health care, retail, manufacturing, consumer goods and entertainment.
Here are the five keys that they suggest will unlock employees’ potential:
- Know Them. Be as familiar with employees as you are with customers. Use that knowledge to shape workplace programs that win people’s hearts and minds.
- Grow Them. Challenge and develop the workforce. People want to learn and excel in their jobs, and they commit to companies that help them.
- Inspire Them. Establish an emotional connection. When people’s work has meaning, they are more inclined to do whatever it takes to ensure success.
- Involve Them. Communicate clearly with employees, gather their input, and let them act. Knowledgeable, valued workers add more value.
- Reward Them. Deliver a “deal” that is fair and meaningful. When people believe they are treated right and appreciated, they give more of their time and creative energy.
These five keys are from an employer’s perspective. If you are an employee, how could you re-frame these five keys?
For Personal Reflection:
How would you rate your experience with the five keys?
How do you think you could “manage up” to close the gap?
What do you think?
Please encourage the discussion by posting your thoughts.
What is the cost of low people engagement?
The reality is this: chronic employee disengagement is costing businesses plenty today. In Part 2 of this series, I suggested that the growing disconnection, detachment, and disengagement of today’s employees demands that leaders focus on core (people) skills.
Part 1 of this blog explored four key words associated with engagement: Connecting, Respect, Value, and Voice.
These core concepts are really about how you, as a leader, engage your people.
As Kerry Sulkowicz’s points out: “…if employees don’t feel that their (boss) isn’t the real McCoy on a human level, they won’t respond very well. They react with distrust, disengagement, and even despair at the prospect of an automaton at the helm.” (Emphasis added)
The good news is that Step One of employee engagement is in your control: how engaged you are as a leader. However, there is a shared responsibility in this matter.
Levels of Engagement
An engaged leader faces three levels of employee engagement as outlined in Gallup’s review: engaged, not engaged, or actively disengaged.
The “engaged” employees are builders. They use their talents, develop productive relationships, and multiply their effectiveness through those relationships. They perform at consistently high levels. They drive innovation and move their organization forward.
The employees that are “not engaged” aren’t necessarily negative or positive about their company. They basically take a wait-and-see attitude toward their job, their employer, and their coworkers. They hang back and don’t commit themselves.
This brings us to the “actively disengaged” employees — the “cave dwellers.” They’re “Consistently Against Virtually Everything.” We’ve all worked with an actively disengaged employee who is not just unhappy at work; he acts out that unhappiness. Every day, actively disengaged employees tear down what their engaged coworkers are building. (Emphasis added)
Engagement and Pain
In terms of relationship, the act of “breaking off” an engagement – canceling the wedding plans and managing the return of gifts received – is not on an engaged couple’s list. Not only is it expensive in terms of lost deposits and time, disengagement is an emotionally painful process.
According to Curt Coffman, Global Practice Leader for Q12 Management Consulting and coauthor of Gallup’s best-selling book on great managers - First, Break All the Rules – a large portion of the work force is disengaged. That means they are living with the emotional pain of disengagement.
Gallup suggests 55% of all U.S. workers are not engaged while another 16% are actively disengaged. This means over 70% of American workers are disengaged on the job. The estimate of what actively disengaged workers cost the American economy is up to $350 billion per year.
This is sobering, to think that 71% of our working population lives each day with the emotional pain and frustration of disengagement at work. Furthermore, American businesses are operating at one third of their capacity. Think about it; what if only one third of a bank’s branches opened today? What does this look like in your company?
This is the human capital bad news; is there any good news in this reality check?
The good news has to be this: the opportunity for growth.
What will happen with an increase of engaged people in your operation?
Step One: live as an engaged leader and embrace this opportunity for growth.
How to tap into this “opportunity for growth”?
Returning to the analogy of our engaged couple, beyond their commitment level, what do we find? What must a couple have to move forward in a lifelong relationship?
To stay the course requires commitment and passion. For a couple, this intense emotion is the result of liking each other. They are “enthusiastic” about the each other. They are passionate about the “love of their life”.
To stay engaged, as an employee, requires commitment and passion, too. Being passionate about one’s work is basic to employee engagement. People who love what they do will make a difference in their world.
Even when you are an engaged leader, if your employees are not passionate about their role it will be difficult for them to remain engaged and committed. Living life with purpose and passion, while serving others is the key to a satisfying work life experience.
For personal reflection:
When it comes to levels of people engagement, how do you stack up against Gallop’s statistics?
What would happen in your organization with an increase of engaged people?
What do you think?
Please encourage the discussion by posting your thoughts.