Employee engagement is a hard-won effort. It’s not easy to come by and needs to be sustained over a long time in order to be effective.
However, once employee engagement is gained, it can be destroyed just as easily, by certain mistakes, which are either done ignorantly or sometimes cruelly, without even thought for how they are perceived by employees. If you want to preserve employee engagement at your organization and maintain workplace harmony, these are the blunders you must avoid making.
Having no vision
The three things you can’t do without in an organization are vision, mission and values statements. When your organization or team doesn’t have a vision, everyone in your team has to wait around to know what they should do next. They do not know what is the end goal they are aiming for. This creates needless confusion and frustration. Remember, having a vision brings everyone together.
Playing the blame game
It is inevitable, that at times, things will go horrendously wrong. That’s just how things go. However, when a crisis occurs, if you choose to attack people and find out who is responsible, instead of fixing the crisis, you are creating a culture where people will refuse to speak up whenever they make a mistake, for fear of being pulled up.
Remember that you all are on the same team. And not all mistakes are intentional and malicious. It’s human to make mistakes after all. So when a crisis occurs, your focus should first circle around on fixing it. And then you can figure out what caused the issue and take the action you need.
Setting unrealistic goals and deadlines
Everybody likes a challenge. But nobody likes to have to climb Mt. Everest with just a pickaxe. This aphorism holds true for goals as well. Goals should challenge employees. But they shouldn’t make them throw down the towel right away because they seem so very impossible.
Before setting goals and deadlines, think of how much bandwidth your employees have to achieve these goals. Goals should challenge your employees, but they should consume their entire working hours.
Everybody likes a little bit of fun and humour at the workplace, but it is important to keep in mind what counts as acceptable humor. If your humor embarrasses employees, makes them feel awkward or puts them on the spot or even hurts their feelings, then it does not belong to the workplace. Humiliating a person in public is a horrible thing to do. There’s no gaffe that merits being humiliated in public. If you must take someone to task, do so in private, in the way that any adult with common sense would do.
No recognition for good work
Imagine that you were given a really challenging task and you took a lot of effort and risk to complete it on time. After you complete the work, your contributions are swept under the rug. This happens once or twice and you would probably let it go. But when it happens on a frequent basis, it’s going to rub a lot of employees in the wrong way. Praise and recognition are important aspects of employee engagement. A lack of it is going to affect morale and of course, drive employees away.
A manager is not going to like everyone on their team, that is a fact. There are going to be some he prefers more than the others, for good reasons (as opposed to sleazy reasons). However, whatever your personal opinion about someone, it should not affect the way you work with them. At work, all of us are adults, and as adults, it behooves us to treat everyone equally. Do not play favorites and even if you have favorites, blatantly seeking out your favourites for plum opportunities is tasteless and makes you look like an immature manager.
Ineffectual performance reviews
Poor performance reviews or poor performance management practices can also impact employee engagement. A lack of feedback, lack of direction and insufficient reviews all serve to make employees feel like their work is not being evaluated accordingly. One way to improve performance management is to automate it. There are many tools out there that can manage performance reviews effectively (Engagedly, being one of them). Choose one of them and get to fixing your review process.
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