You know you’ve got an employee engagement problem when you have employees who are indifferent. Let’s call these people moderately disengaged. They’re not the worst employees you’ve ever had. However, they aren’t the best either. Most companies do nothing about these people. Here’s why this is a mistake. Moderately disengaged employees are like a pot of spaghetti sauce waiting to boil over the moment the heat is turned up. It’s a mess waiting to happen. If let untouched, these people can quickly spoil and can cause further erosion throughout your organization.
Here are three ways to prevent this from happening.
- Find the root cause of the problem-You do this by working backwards. Here’s what I mean by this. Suppose errors in the production area have been on the rise. Why? What’s changed? Have production expectations recently increased? Has the machinery on the floor been rearranged? Did this situation first start happening right after the decision was made not to replace a supervisor who retired? Don’t stop digging until the root of the problem is uncovered.
- Take immediate action-Have you ever been in a situation where management knew exactly what the problem was, yet didn’t take action? How did that make you feel? When I do focus groups for my clients, they are usually not surprised by my findings. If you know what the problem is, fix it. If you don’t know, then ask.
- Involve employees in the solution-Let’s go back to our example where production has fallen and we’ve discovered employees feel disconnected because they feel they have no one representing their interests. You don’t have the budget to hire additional personnel. Acknowledge the situation and ask employees for their input. Some may suggest assigning someone to be the lead operator or splitting the shift of a supervisor to ensure all employees have someone they can go to when problems arise. Feeling like you are part of the solution goes a long way towards curing indifference.
Indifference doesn’t happen overnight nor does it go away after one conversation. To turn this situation around, you’ll need to demonstrate your commitment to making your workplace one where you not only know what’s going on, but you are also prepared to take action.