How to fix employee engagement and direction.
Ever noticed that people don’t always do what they are supposed to do? Although always frustrating for management . . . with the staff reductions we have all faced over the last 3 years in the building products industry, these traits can be debilitating.
I read an article recently in American Express Open Forum that outlined 9 different reasons people don’t do what they are supposed to do. Here is a short list of the most important ones that relate to the building product industry.
1. They misunderstand the nature and scope of their work.
Sadly, instead of asking questions or signaling their confusion, they muddle through each day. Though their focus should be on figuring out how to accomplish specific goals, co-workers and vendors dictate their priorities.
Fix: Clarify your expectations for their position, updating and refining their job description as needed. Coach them on techniques for dealing with outside pressures. Confirm that you will provide direction and support but make sure that they develop the ability to stand on their own without your continual intervention.
2. Always in a hurry.
For whatever reason, they want coworkers and vendors to execute their ideas quickly. They may have had a late-in-the-season epiphany for a marketing campaign or new product introduction. Or timelines are generally inconsequential to them.
Fix: Establish firm lead times that are nonnegotiable, especially if certain ideas require execution by work areas with limited resources. Alternatively, establish processes to execute quick turnaround on ideas with high ROI potential outside of your regular workflow.
3. Lacks discernment and is unable to sort through what’s important and what’s insignificant.
Overloaded with information and short on insights, they waffle on decisions, defers action until they gets more clarity, and chooses unwisely.
Fix: Provide regular coaching sessions to step them through the process of making sound decisions consistent with your company’s mission and its values. Communicate direction and get involved in helping them make difficult choices early rather than later.
4. The wrong person is in the job.
You discover that he doesn’t have the problem-solving abilities, mental courage or leadership abilities that you thought he did when you hired him. He doesn’t really understand how to bring innovation to the company, which you need now more than ever.
Fix: Realize that not all problems can be remedied by changes in your approach. Instead of struggling with a difficult person who is slow to adapt to new circumstances, can’t sort through workload without hand-holding, and the like, change the assignments of your staff members or find a replacement who can do what he is supposed to do.
In the building product industry we are working in today, each FTE is critical to the outcome of the company or not necessary. Sometimes, after all the course corrections, the wrong person is in the job and needs to be replaced. Hard decisions are necessary with the current constraints of the building product industry.
Sources and Additional Articles
- Source: Dealing With Problem Employees: The Basics of Progressive Discipline
- Photo Credit: Include copyright Image from Zach Klein on Flickr
- Motivating Employees in the Building Products Industry
- 5 Types of PR Agencies Building Product Execs Must Avoid
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