Merge's Blog

Yet another sure-fire way to create disengaged employees

disengaged employeesLast month, I blogged about two different scenarios demonstrating how otherwise-reasonable managers do stupid things that lead to demotivated and disengaged employees.  Specifically, I wrote about managers who short-sightedly block their employees’ internal transfers and promotions, and those who erroneously mistake attendance for productivity.  Both those posts generated several emails (and even a phone call), all from readers who agreed completely with the points I was making.  A couple of weeks later, I received another email from a reader, outlining yet another situation that occurs repeatedly, almost always resulting in disengaged employees.  This event – when managers watch the clock to see what time employees arrive and leave, but then don’t give them credit for the work they do on their own time – is a huge demotivator.

Work isn’t just done from the office any more!

I couldn’t agree more!  In today’s world of advanced technology, work isn’t just conducted in the office anymore.  Many employees, particularly those who have been in an organization for more than a couple of years, deal with email and telephone calls outside regular working hours.  Sometimes it’s because emergencies need to be addressed right away, and sometimes it’s because their colleagues or customers are in different time zones.  And depending on how crazy their regular work days are, often employees get most of their “catch-up” done after-hours, when the endless grind of daytime meetings winds down.  My point is that if you are not acknowledging that your employees get work done on their own time, and even worse, if you’re policing their attendance, then quite frankly, you shouldn’t be surprised if your outcome is demotivated and disengaged employees.

So don’t.  If you have professional salaried staff, then treat them like professionals.  Unless you have a specific known problem employee, your default should always be that they are self-motivated and therefore self-managed.  Don’t watch the clock to see when they arrive and when they leave, and always assume that they’re getting things done.  If you focus on results and outcomes, you’ll know whether your assumptions were correct!  And bonus … no disengaged employees!

So what do you think?  What have been your experiences in this regard?  Have you been on the receiving end of a manager who does this?  I’d love to hear what you think, so please add your comment below.

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