How to Take Your Employees from Bad Eggs to Golden Eggs
First, let’s talk about the employment process. You did your due diligence. You reviewed more than one hundred resumes. Out of those, the top 10 were prescreened; and out of those the top 5 were interviewed. And it was then narrowed down to two. You did the reference checks, talked to the applicant’s former managers; and did the required background check. This guy walks on water!
So what happened to Joe after he accepted your offer? How did he make it into the pool of employees that have been labeled slackers? What influencers could you have controlled to assure his work ethic remained stellar?
Do you recognize the guy in the photo? Does he work for you? If so, what are you going to do to change the situation? You know “the Joe” you hired is in there somewhere, but how do you pull him out of the black hole of slackers?
5 Reasons for slacking and how you can close the black hole:
- Boredom: The number one reason people slack off is boredom. I have a feeling you all knew this. When you read through the other 4 reasons, most will have a connection to the diagnosis of a slacking employee, coined “Boreout” by Lund University sociologist, Roland Paulsen. In Paulsen’s book, Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance, Paulsen writes: “Work is often assumed to fill our lives with meaning and purpose, but the workplace can also be an arena for frustration, power and resistance. International surveys show that employees spend an average of two hours a day on private activities at work...”
- Working Too Few Hours: A recent article in Forbes, provided the number of hours that someone works to define potential slacking. The standard job that requires no more than 40 hours per week generally gets no more than 32 hours of production per week...or less. Slackers seem to be more prevalent in workplaces that monitor employees by a clock. If compared to the workers whose jobs require 43 or more hours per week, employers will see employees working longer days just to try and accomplish the number of tasks on their plates.
- Keeping up with personal social media: This is the age of the digital employee, connected to all things digital, at all hours of the day and night. Employers are cognizant of social media habits. They’re also well aware that firing and hiring adds an additional cost on top of the cost of slacking. How much productivity is lost by allowing employees to check their Facebook page, stay logged in to Twitter and get more Pokémons than their friends? A report by HRMAsia states that “34 minutes a day is wasted due to time spent on social media.” According to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, US employees typically spend one hour of their workday on social media. And, millennials, who are even more attached to their devices, spend 1.8 hours on such sites. Since we know we can lose up to 6 months of productivity by replacing an employee, what’s the answer?
- Managers are too busy managing tasks: Yep, your manager has a lot on his/her mind. You took a job that was called “a springboard” to the next level. You’re a quick learner; a month goes by and then two or three, and you find yourself with at least 5 hours of empty time...every day. You go to your manager and tell him/her that you have extra time on your hands, and you are ready to take on more challenges. Two days later you get a response and you’re transitioned to part time. Company practices like this send new recruits running to join the Slackers Club.
- The Deadbeat Employee: This type of an employee is like a virus in the office. You’ve all seen deadbeats at work. They do just enough to get by, complaining about their workload, their private life, their home life, their health and even their family’s finances. They spend the majority of their time on sick leave, bereavement leave, personal leave, and yes, even on vacation. They fudge their work hours, fudge their vacation days and constantly procrastinate. They also recruit others to join their deadbeat club. In a recent article in About Money magazine, Susan Heathfield has this warning for managers: “..... employees who feel a bit like he (the deadbeat) does about a change, the workplace in general, or their jobs, are quick to echo the deadbeat's point of view. This further poisons your workplace morale and productivity.”
How Do You Close the Black Hole?
By now you should be able to see common traits in slackers. There are those who create the black hole and those who get sucked into it.
The Gallup Organization estimates that there are 22 million disengaged employees costing the economy as much as $350 billion dollars per year in lost productivity including absenteeism, illness and other morale issues. It doesn’t matter what size an organization is or how many years its been in business, the steps to battle black hole costs are easy. You need to communicate the company mission, set clearly defined and achievable goals, tie those goals to activities that affect the bottom line and measure the progress. Retain those who fit the company mission and culture, and know when to let loose of those who aren’t worth saving. With the help of intuitive and interactive tools, you can reverse the black hole effect and head for the stars. Let the force be with you.