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How can we get employees back to work?

How can we get employees back to work?

Occasionally, employees who are “tired” from their work are a real nuisance to the entire organization, according to a McKinsey study. (Photo: Sander Sami for Unsplash)

Damn job! The section where Olivier Schmucker answers your most interesting questions [et les plus pertinentes] About the modern business world… and of course its shortcomings. Appointment to read Tuesday And the Thursday. Would you like to participate? Send us your question to [email protected]

Question: “I don't know why, but I have the impression that our SME employees are becoming less committed to their work. He drags his feet, sighs. Is there something that brings their hearts back to work? – Pierre Olivier

A: Dear Pierre Olivier, If it can comfort you, know that your SME is not the exception that proves the rule: employee disengagement is a big phenomenon these days. As evidence of this, I cite a recent survey conducted in North America by the strategic consulting firm McKinsey, which revealed the fact that more than half of workers do not feel engaged in their work:

– 10% of workers resigned. They are so isolated that they are on the verge of quitting: they do minimal work and are actively looking for another job elsewhere.

– 12% are disabled. They feel low job satisfaction and show low commitment: their performance is also low, but what is worse is that they drain the energy of others, in the sense that they allow them to do heavy work, which leads to low morale of those around them.

– 33.5% “sheep”. Their levels of satisfaction and commitment are below average: they get on with the task without putting in more effort and, above all, without trying to do more. Basically, they go with the flow, without saying anything. Incidentally, this greatly harms the productivity of the organization.

In short, there is no fun at work, at least for more than half of workers.

The question is clear: what is the problem? Naturally, the McKinsey study addressed this point. It appears that worker separation is primarily the result of six factors.

– Insufficient pay. Workers feel they are underpaid, which leads to poor performance and lack of commitment. This factor alone explains 12% of the total disengagement.

– Lack of meaning (12%). Their daily work life is meaningless to them. This leads them to believe that their work is useless.

– Lack of flexibility (11%). Workers would like to be able to better balance professional life and personal life, at least to be able to have a certain amount of flexibility in their daily management (schedules, workplaces, etc.).

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– Lack of career development opportunities (10%). They would like to benefit, for example, from a career plan within the organization, at least the possibility of following training programs that are likely to help them advance their career.

– Lack of support (9%). They find that their direct manager does not understand, advise or support them sufficiently. They regret the fact that he only orders and controls them. If this lack of support does not come from the line manager, it comes from senior managers, or even upper management.

– Feeling insecure (9%). They do not feel safe in their workplace, physically or psychologically.

In other words, the problems are many and varied, and this does not sound like good news for employers, because they clearly have their work cut out for them. However, the McKinsey experts who signed the study believe that it is possible to be dedicated to the work of employees, says Pierre Olivier. This is done by proceeding in three stages.

1. Why you?

If we look closely at the main factors of employee disengagement, we notice something fairly simple: the core of the problem is that employees do not find their place within the organization. It is not their place in terms of pay, the task they have to accomplish through their daily tasks, or even the way they will be executed to achieve it.

And this is the fault of the organization itself, McKinsey experts believe: “If employees are confused, it is almost always because the top management, as well as their subordinate leaders and managers, do not know themselves in which direction to turn, “because in reality it is enough to navigate by sight.” , as they point out.

do you doubt that? Yes. So, answer the question: “What is your organization’s purpose today?” And to the next question: “Is it a coincidence that all members of senior management, leaders, and managers in your organization give the same uniform answer to the first question?”

Hum… There may be times when certain people don't receive a response from the client's benefactors, their profits are safe and durable, they are guaranteed to offer all of them or service respect. From the planet. incorrect?

Incidentally, the chaos of the answers provided by the “boss” of the organization resonates in the daily lives of employees. For most of them, this translates into real chaos in their daily working lives. Deep down they don't know why or what they are working for, and this undermines them day by day, until they disengage.

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To remedy this problem, it is appropriate to organize group meetings aimed at making everyone think about why the organization exists. On a central question: “Why us?” Followed by: “And what benefit does each one of you have?”

This will allow everyone to better understand the task they have to achieve not only collectively, but also individually. Thus giving meaning to the work of every employee.

Next, McKinsey experts recommend regularly checking whether everyone is really able to align their daily life with the task they have to achieve. For example, do senior managers use the organization's purpose as their north star in making decisions?

They stress that this verification is necessary. “If your raison d'être is just a poster on the wall, you're wasting everyone's time. If it doesn't permeate every employee's daily life, the consequences can be devastating,” they stress.

By the way, they add this point that seems crucial to me: “Our survey found that employees are five times more likely to be engaged in their daily work when they work for an organization that devotes time to thinking about the impact on their work.” world.”

2. Focus more on empathy

Look closely at the leaders and managers in your organization. Do they cultivate compassionate leadership, or is their attitude closer to “Stop complaining and start doing!”? And if you're a leader, ask yourself: “Is my team really comfortable enough to share personal things with me?”

If you think these questions are secondary, remember this point from the McKinsey study: When employees do not feel psychologically safe, their chance of achieving their individual and collective goals at work is only 0.5%. This means that there is almost no chance of performing well, at least to achieve the goals set for them. It's stupid like that.

The trick to rectifying the situation is ultimately very simple: increase your empathy toward employees. Concretely, this can develop your empathy in three stages.

– Cognitive empathy. Try to understand the other's point of view, without judging them. Try to understand the logic and reasoning of the other. Or imagine what it's like to experience another's reality.

– Emotional empathy. Try to capture the other person's emotions when they talk to you. Notice whether you feel upset when the other person is hurting (and ask yourself why, if not). Or experience helping others by truly putting yourself at their service.

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– Compassionate empathy. Understand the other person's point of view, show concern, and take action to relieve the other person's pain or solve the problem they are facing. Feel upset when the other person suffers and take actions that can help alleviate or even eliminate it. Or understand, advise and support others.

3. Help everyone succeed

A McKinsey study shows that 63% of employees consider that their employer does not give them the opportunity to succeed in their daily work. This is a large percentage. “So you have no choice but to mitigate this serious problem,” the study authors say.

Some organizations are more or less aware of this, and organize other meetings and workshops from time to time aimed at encouraging everyone to express more of their special skills in their daily work. McKinsey experts say this effort is “laudable, but insufficient.”

It is best to strive to align each individual's personal goals with the organization's goals. Because the employee will then feel “in his place” and therefore in a position to be useful and effective. This will lead him directly to fulfillment.

Now how to perform such an alignment? By sitting down with everyone and taking time to see together whether their individual goals can actually contribute to achieving the collective goals. Simply. This work may certainly seem boring, but it can allow the employee to realize how important his work is and, above all, make small adjustments that will allow him to feel more “in his place,” if necessary. For example, taking a task that he hates because it doesn't give him the opportunity to express one of his core skills and giving it back to another team member would be a great idea to do.

There you are, Pierre Olivier. It's entirely possible to make others want to give 110% at work. The trick is to stop regretting the speck stuck in someone else's eye, and dare to think about the ray stuck in your own eye. And to have the courage to remove one as well as the other.