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MANY employees start off at a new company bright-eyed and eager to succeed. Is that inbuilt engagement squandered by poor management, or is it attitude? Maybe a little of both.
When enthusiasm wanes and an employee’s passion turns into passiveness, it doesn’t just happen overnight. The slow but steady disengagement of employees is a downward spiral; but the warning signs can be subtle and difficult to identify, so managers and supervisors in agribusinesses large and small should think along the lines of prevention rather than detection.
Taking deliberate steps toward keeping employees passionate and engaged is like preventative healthcare for your business.
When employees are passionate about what they do, it can be infectious; however, disengagement can also spread like a disease, affecting those around them.
So what does a disengaged employee look like?
A disengaged employee is not only largely unfulfilled, but sees their job as somehow getting in the way of, or inhibiting their individual progress, passion or purpose in life.
Think of the most disengaged person you have ever had the pleasure of working with. They likely had a million things they would rather do, a million ways to do those things better, and a million places they would rather be.
And then, ominously, there are those deemed to be “actively disengaged”. These are the people who think bad thoughts – and act on them.
They dislike their organisation, despise their boss, are indifferent to their job, but they just will not leave.
Instead, they hang around and spread their negativity to others within the team. In Australia, analysis suggests one in five employees fit that description.
Does financial compensation equal recognition and engagement?
Many businesses mistake recognition for financial compensation. In reality, financial compensation does not go very far in the way of facilitating passion and engagement.
The solution is about leadership. Businesses need to be able to inspire their employees and help them understand WHY we all do what we do each day – for the ‘Mission’.
Leaders hold the position of power and authority, and with that, they have the responsibility of inspiring the team.
Recognition comes in many more ways than just financial compensation – it’s the recognition of achievements, milestones, and then the reinforcement of why we all march towards to same mission.
Communication in the form of regular feedback also keeps employees from going into ‘survival mode’ – where an employee is doing just enough, with no desire to do more or help the business succeed.
This is where feedback is key, because it gives employees a sense of where they’re going, but not all managers are great at delivering it.
Managers should act as a compass for their employees, keeping them on the path for success, which then leads to engagement.
Passion will starve out if it isn’t properly fed, so what are the tools?
The same tools that managers can use to retain passion are also the tools used to build it – constant communication, feedback and recognition are the keys to a passionate workforce and the leading combatants to a passive one.
Communicating with, and valuing employees are the two main objectives in keeping passion.
Creating alignment between your employees’ roles and the business’ overall mission is critical to fuelling passion.
Managers could improve employee engagement and passion by asking them to articulate what they get paid to do (what’s in their job description), and what success looks like in their role.
It will create an open dialogue to better align job expectations and how individual employees’ contributions fit into your company’s big picture, mission and business goals.
At the end of the day, passion is any company’s lifeline. When employees display passion, it should be encouraged and valued – it is something that needs to be nurtured, not bought.
Employees will not maintain any level of passion under a management that doesn’t communicate with them, or recognise that they are valued.
Source: Meat Processors Pty Ltd – Managed Workforce