#119 Pay Attention: It's Not Just The Millennials

The 4th of July Holiday is coming soon, so here's an early present.

It’s a 16 minute video that I strongly suggest you watch or listen to. On the surface it’s about millennials in the workforce/life, but most of the material applies to all of us.

FYI, you won't miss anything if you skip the first 35 seconds of the intro and don't let the stupid name turn you off - Best Ever blah, blah, blah.

If the speaker's name sounds familiar it might be because I wrote about him, Simon Sinek, in these past posts...

#20 - WHY And The Human Brain: My Brain Might Be Wired For Why

#45 - WHY At WORK: People Buy Into WHY You Do What You Do

#46 - Roll Your Own: We're Unique So Our Maps Will Be Unique

Happy 4th!

#117 Disengaged Employees: They Can Tell When You Don't Care

It’s summertime, so for the next several weeks I’ll try to keep things short and sweet. This one should take 3 minutes to read.

I recently came across this Dec. 2017 poll done by Gallup. They call it the “State of the Global Workplace” and it claims that 85% of employees are “not engaged” or are “actively disengaged” at work.

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More specifically,

18% are actively disengaged
67% are not engaged or are indifferent to your organization

And their suggested fix for this disengagement is threefold…

  1. Audit your current performance management system…
  2. Train your managers to have effective performance development conversations.
  3. Build a scientific system to make the right decisions about who becomes a manager.

Being a recovering engineer, I get a little warm inside when I hear phrases like “performance management system” and “build a scientific system”.

But, being a human being that’s had the pleasure of managing other human beings, I’m not sure I agree with their advice. I hear this conversation in my head.

“Our people feel disengaged, what should we do?”
“Let’s try more systems and measurement.”

Sounds a little impersonal and tone deaf, doesn’t it? I’ve never met a disengaged employee who told me their main gripe was a performance management system that wasn’t scientific enough. 

On the other hand, I have heard employees say…

“I work for a company that doesn’t give a damn about me.”
“All the owner cares about is putting money in his pocket.”
“I’m just a replaceable cog in the machine”. 

Bottom line, if a whole bunch of your employees feel the same way - disengaged - it reflects on the business owner. You either suck at hiring, suck at managing, or maybe you really don’t care about them. Either way, you're the common denominator and you have to address the problem.

WHAT’S THE FIX?

The fix is pretty simple. Ownership has to sincerely care about the employees, and that caring has to shine through in their daily interactions.

And yes, that's hard to do. Especially when you’re fighting to keep the place above water, and those doggone employees are misinterpreting your intentions, and they just don’t understand how much you really care.

I hear you, but that’s what you signed up for when you hung up your shingle. Your most important job is behaving in such a way that your employees know, for sure, that you care. That you're invested in helping each and every one of them grow each and every day. That’s the only way I know to run a high-growth business that you won’t eventually come to hate.

And I promise I’m not anti-rules, anti-process, anti-systems - but I do believe all of those things are over-prescribed. They remind me of expensive pills that people take to half-ass fix their ailments that could be better corrected with diet and exercise. 

Really caring about the growth of your employees is diet and exercise. 

It’s the all-natural answer to your engagement challenge, and it avoids the nasty impersonal side effects that come with those magic pills / systems.