How do leaders crush employee engagement? Oh, let us count the ways. . .
Over at SmartBlog on Leadership, I describe a newly hired vice president whose intense move to action panicked people, rather than inspiring them. Within a week of starting his new job, he had completely shut down employee engagement. I was going to title the SmartBlog post How to Shut Down Employee Engagement in Five Days, but settled instead for Why waiting is a new executive’s first task.
There are innumerable ways that leaders kill employee engagement. That’s not their intention, but it is often the unfortunate outcome. I asked The People Equation community for additional examples of employee engagement killers from senior management and here’s what they said:
- Failing to realize that if they are a leader, they must be accountable to the vision and the values of the organization at a higher level than their employees.
- Allowing their personal struggles with another executive to grow into silos, politics and turf wars that impact their teams, their customers and the entire organization.
- Not realizing that one of their main objectives is to identify and remove obstacles so their employees can do their jobs more effectively and more efficiently.
- They listen, and do nothing.
- Not encouraging/paying for training or at the very least, having someone mentor employees in added roles/promotions.
- Not providing feedback!
- After giving feedback, no plan of action and follow up.
- Not sharing information about what other departments are up to.
- They disengage from employees: lack of visibility, clear messaging, no dialogue.
- Focusing on finances instead of people.
- Giving mixed messages like “employees are our most valuable asset” and then laying people off.
There are simple, low-cost solutions to increasing employee engagement. For example, my colleague Denise said that to counteract Employee Engagement Killer #9 (“not sharing information about what departments are up to”), the “small non-profit that I have been working with has informal gatherings every Monday morning @ 9:30 am to catch up on what everyone is up to and anything pertinent to share. We also eat lunch together-in the conference room-on Fridays and take a full hour to eat and talk about work or socialize.”
Employee engagement isn’t about creating fancy programs. It is simply about connecting with people on a human level. Many of the leaders in the most engaged workplaces that I know understand this; they keep it simple and real.
What other employee engagement killers have you seen in the workplace? Feel free to add to the list in the comments section.