Updated: Jun 1, 2020
One of leadership’s key focus today is to create an engaging work environment
Why? Because our success depends on our performance and efficiency, and engaged employees are better performers and more efficient. Thus we, the leaders, create learning opportunities and attend seminars to learn and teach how to be more efficient in what we do. In doing so, some of us succeed while some of us fail. So the question is: What is it that those who succeed know, which the other’s don’t?
As discussed in Why 90% of Training Programs Fail; essentially, there are three reasons for performance issues with respect to people
Lack of Desire | Lack of Expertise | Lack of Enable-ment
Lack of enable-ment occurs when we, as leaders, lead in an autocratic style. ‘Providing autonomy at workplace’ has to be understood as a thought-process for a culture of empowered and enabled people. It requires management to trust their people in not just doing things right, but in also doing the right things. Moreover, it is necessary to create an environment transparent enough for people to openly address their lack of enable-ment. And so an exemplification of such critical actions must be exhibited by the leadership for true enable-ment.
.This leaves us with desire and expertise. The easier of the two to tackle is the ‘lack of expertise’ challenge. It comes with definite signs. These are the people who are usually motivated at work. They’re the ones who will ask about the upcoming training programs. They are also the ones who will be in constant council with their managers to learn about the areas in which they could improve. As you read these characteristics you might think to yourself that these people are incredibly rare which is not true. There are many people with at least some of these characteristics, they would do these things, but very subtly. After all, no one likes to make a fool of themselves by letting others know that they don’t know what to do in a certain situation, especially in an un-enabled environment. Yet you’ll find them reading self help books and articles which give direction to overcome challenges. You will find the presence of three or more of the following six characteristics in these people: Job Satisfaction, Commitment, Discretionary Effort, Emotional Stability, Locus of Control and High Self-Esteem. If these are the people who are not performing at higher levels, nine out of ten times; the problem lies in either knowledge or expertise. Engaging these people can and will improve performance and efficiency, given that the engagement is meaningful and has some form of iterative approach.
The real challenge is when we’re trying to engage the non-engageables. Yes, there is a group of people in your very own organization who are non-engageable. These are the people who are not motivated about learning and developing themselves. They don’t see any value in training and personal development. So when nominated for a training of any sort; they have plenty of reasons why they can’t attend. And when they do; they come back unchanged with no intention to apply anything that they were exposed to. These people don’t need a training program, they need a more fulfilling career. They are in positions where they don’t belong, which is frustrating not only for them but also for their subordinates. The root of it all is a lack of job satisfaction which leads to an array of problems and dis-harmonies. Much of this actually has to do with the personality of the individual with respect to the function of the job. This challenge is best tackled at the very onset; at the recruitment stage. If the recruitment team is well equipped, they will weave through the potentially non-engageables. There are tools available for the recruitment team to find an alignment between the personality type and the role to avoid future disappointments of a bad recruit.
But what if the deed has already been done? What if you already have these people on board? There are three areas which can potentially change these people’s attitudes to be more receptive and engageable.
JOB SATISFACTION | They must feel a sense of satisfaction in what they do. Money will only go so far when it comes to real satisfaction. Satisfaction must be tied to an emotional connect for these people where they feel they’re making a difference with what they’re doing.
EMOTIONAL STABILITY | They must have a work/life balance in order to be emotionally stable. Companies must encourage people to leave work on time, to return home and resume their personal lives though the they (the employees) may be adamant to stay. This will pay off on a longer run when the employee appreciates the time he had to spend with his family.
SELF ESTEEM | Self confidence and self esteem cannot be taught in a training room. This has to be instilled by peers, subordinates and leadership. Research has shown that negative, pessimistic employees with low self-esteem not only decrease your customer satisfaction, but they do not leave the organization voluntarily. Consequently, your company must develop a culture and a process that supports the reduction of these types of employees especially in direct customer contact positions. Companies that have a positive culture automatically help people attain a positive high self-esteem. There are enough and more cultural solutions available for companies to take advantage of and to bring about a positive culture in their environments.
Finally, with the knowledge of who fits where in the grand scheme of things, we can begin engaging and investing in the right kind of people. The people who will take what has been taught and apply in all aspects of their lives. Potentially, these are the people who change the face of an industry. They are the pioneers, the leaders who were once great followers, the difference-makers, those who lead by example, the risk takers, the troublemakers — nevertheless — they are the engageables.
How much money is your company wasting in trying to engage the non-engageable?