Disengagement

The grass is greener…

A recent article by Gallup confirms the data we’ve continually heard in recent years, “67% of U.S. employees are disengaged at work”. 


What does that mean for you? There’s a strong possibility the majority of your employees are looking for greener grass… in the form of another job. The study also says  “51% say they’re actively looking for a new job or are open to one, and 47% say now is a good time to find a quality job.”


In a May 2019 article from ATD (Association of Talent Development), Kristina Nardi shared the idea that “an engaged workforce doesn’t arise from a single organizational role.” I agree. It takes an entire ecosystem to create an authentic culture of engagement (ie. HR, Leaders, Managers, Individual Contributors, etc.).

Business leaders want employees who are engaged, self-starters, loyal and who think about their jobs “as if they owned the business”.  If I were to ask you what percentage of your staff is truly engaged would you know? Would your managers know?  

  • Do your leaders know their staff as individuals?  
  • Do your leaders regularly seek out and receive feedback from their staff?
  • Would you describe your workforce as “friends”?
  • Do your leaders have time to invest in their team?  
  • Are you aware of a precipitating event that caused your employee to be disengaged?

If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to take a hard look at the engagement (or disengagement) of your team. Here are some easy ways to begin:

  • Create clarity and accountability through communication. It’s kind to be clear and the best way to do that is by communicating in a way that will resonate with your employees. Ensure leaders are well versed in the styles of their team members and are mindful to use this when communicating.
  • Ensure each employee is a match to their job. Does each employee fit the needs of their role? An easy way to increase engagement is to ensure each employee knows what they do is important and valuable to the organization.
  • Alignment of Purpose – Does each person in your organization understand their purpose? I don’t mean do they understand their job description and KPIs, rather do they understand how they impact and contribute to the overall success of the organization?

Is Your Candidate Really Available?

It’s still a candidate’s market and that means it’s imperative to understand your candidates’ intentions and remember they have alternate options.

Here’s a real-life scenario that I experienced with a client recently.

A company was looking for a Vice President in their Operations organization. After going through the normal hiring process they narrowed down the field to their top choice. The candidate made it all the way to the finish line and the company offered them the role, only to learn the candidate took their offer back to their current company and negotiated a retention bonus to stay in their current role.

This happened not once, not twice, but three times.

And this is not the only one of my client’s who this has happened to recently. Is it a strategy on the candidates part or just the company’s bad luck?

Neither. It’s the market and as a company looking for a superior performer who will be a great match, this is an element you must take into consideration.

Here’s an extreme (but accurate) comparison. Try to put yourself in this situation:

You are on a business trip and sit down at a bar to grab some food. Another business professional at the bar offers to buy you a drink. You thank the person and strike up some small talk. The added attention is nice and you appreciate being noticed. However, you’re happily married and have no interest in anything other than friendly conversation. That doesn’t mean you don’t participate in the conversation and see what comes from it.

I realize this is an extreme example, but it’s one that paints a similar picture. If a candidate is unemployed and applying for a role you should consider a different approach than if you’re courting someone who’s gainfully employed and looking for different opportunities.

A few weeks ago I shared three interview questions you should be asking. If you have a candidate whose employed and looking for alternate opportunities, wouldn’t it be nice to know why they’ve left each role they’ve had up to this point? If your candidate is not currently working, wouldn’t it be nice to know why and for how long?

These seem like no-brainer questions to get answered, but you’d be shocked at the number of candidates who make it to the final stages of the process and remain a mystery.

Want help identifying a process that works for hiring and takes into consideration the true availability of a candidate? Let’s chat!

Magic Happens When Talent and Jobs Align

I’m fascinated by the subtle things that people do in their jobs that make them uniquely talented at what they do.  I’m not talking about education or training. I’m talking about something special, a unique talent that makes an individual shine brighter.   In “First, Break All the Rules” by Markus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, there’s a great example of this.

Gallup was asked by a large entertainment company to help them find more housekeepers like their best. They assembled eight of this company’s best housekeepers. They asked them: “How do you know if a room is clean?” They said that the last thing they did before leaving a room was to lie on the guest’s bed and turn on the ceiling fan.  

Why? “Because,” they explained, “that is the first thing that a guest will do after a long day out. They will walk into the room, flop down on the bed and turn on the fan. If dust comes off the top of the fan, then no matter how sparkling clean the rest of the room is, the guest might think it’s as dirty as the top of the fan.” These housekeepers viewed the hotel room as the guest’s world. When they cleaned the room they imagined how a guest would see it and making the room just right gave them satisfaction.

They considered themselves as front-of-house employees who set the stage for the guest. For example, if children left stuffed animals in the room, the housekeepers – with the guests’ permission – would arrange the animals to tell a story. When the family arrived after an outing they might find Pooh and Piglet sitting on pillows holding the remote control with an arm in the candy jar as if they had spent the day snacking and watching TV.

I love that!

The work I do is about identifying talent and comparing it to a job’s needs. While I can’t measure that unique subtle thing, what I know for sure is that if someone’s talents match the needs of the job, they’ll be happy doing the job and those subtle somethings will come through automatically.  When we work in a job that needs what we have to offer we feel competent and that feeling of competence sets those unique and subtle talents free.