I will admit to being a little frustrated when it comes to workplace issues of people and performance lately. I am engaged in a few LinkedIn discussion group threads on the issues of training and support for engagement and motivation and on the issues of leadership and motivation in the workplace. It seems we are spending a LOT of money but seeing little result.

My take is that we are doing the same things and expecting the same results, something that looks like this:

Rat Cage Making Progress Yet yellow

Few in leadership are apparently expecting anything to really change, even though there is a lot of talk about the issues and the benefits. Gallup shared this data, which I simply republish again, today, from 1.4 million people and almost 50,000 organizations:

Employee engagement affects nine performance outcomes, comparing the top 1/4 to the bottom 1/4 (so a very broad, general comparison). Top-quartile performing organizations have:

  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 25% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
  • 65% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
  • 28% less shrinkage
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% fewer patient safety incidents
  • 41% fewer quality incidents (defects)
  • 10% higher customer metrics
  • 21% higher productivity
  • 22% higher profitability

So, how about we simply focus on something simple:

Each One, Reach One.

Every supervisor should focus their attention on reaching one of their less-engaged people and doing something to try to involve and engage them in workplace improvement. Take one of the middle of the pack and ask them what things might be in need of improvement to make their job better or easier. Ask them for ideas about the things that get in the way of them performing.

The idea is Dis-Un-Engagement

This is not rocket science. Can’t we expect our team of leadership, our front line supervisors, to have sufficient skills NOW (not after some anticipated training program that we can do 6 months from today) to actually impact one or two of their people this week? Can we not expect those supervisors to maintain some level of motivation of those people for a few weeks (intrinsic, not through extrinsic rewards) — after all, isn’t that really supervision (and not control!)?

Is this too much to ask? Can’t the managers of these supervisors do ONE thing to help engage the supervisors in a performance improvement initiative and ask them what might be done differently?

Can’t we start a positive improvement program without all the hubbub of getting Training and HR and Most Senior Leadership involved? Isn’t this probably in line with the Mission Statement anyway?

I know that I could choose to do One Thing Differently today if I wanted to. And that would make a difference in what happens around here.

Nah. I think I will go get more coffee… Nothing here needs changing, right?

I think that all things look just fine and peachy from where I sit…

bummed out guys

For the FUN of It! (Seriously!!)

Scott Debrief

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

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