Has Someone Killed Your Employee Engagement?

Recognize This: Don’t kill someone’s engagement. Acknowledge their strengths; feed their abilities.

Have you ever been engaged at work, only to have that engagement killed by the actions (or inactions) of others, probably your direct supervisor?

Wally Bock, another favorite blogger of mine, recently told the story of Dan on his Three Star Leadership blog:

To summarize, Dan was a top-notch technician, always willing to help others, always demonstrating a good attitude. Then he switched jobs. From the onboarding experience (form filling) to a boss that wouldn’t listen to suggestions from a “new guy” or trust him to do a job he’d been doing for years without direct (over the shoulder) supervision, everything Dan experienced in the new job killed his engagement. In just two weeks, Dan’s incredible engagement was thoroughly throttled.

As I commented to Wally, I hate hearing stories like this because I know it’s far more common than many companies/leaders would like to admit and a reflection of command-and-control still being alive and well. "You haven't been here long enough to know anything yet. ... You can't possibly know more than I do. ... Don't perform better than I do or make it look like you don't need me."

It's so much easier to help an engaged employee maintain or even increase his/her engagement than it is to give a disengaged employee a reason and willingness to engage in the first place.

Tell me your story of engagement killed. Better yet, share ideas with all of us on how to make sure an employee who’s engaged from day 1 is willing to stay engaged.

1 comment(s):

At January 21, 2011 10:07 PM, Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,

I guess the people who have the most to tell would be HR. I man, who else can be as "disengaged" than those trying to add value in improving the workplace, yet face unsurmountable political interference, receive unappreciation for thinking strategic and being dynamic to shift the paradigms on the number one killer to greatness - leadership culture.

I have also realised HR is a dispensable and dying function in the organisations that confine HR's existential value to hire, pay and fire. In worst cases, when the real work is done with they just get rid of HR and outsource the function. I had the distinct displeasure of working the past 6 years in a similar environment and now leave under "forced" circumstances.

For the past 2 years, I have been coldstoraged and reduced in performance responsibility, not to mention shortchanged in monetary rewards. Why did I put up with the toxicity. Just say, the ESOS was a factor to the complacnecy.

But, I did not allow myself to fall for the pernicious game of using "disengagement", to coax me to leave. No matter what, I wanted to stretch their patience and entice them into committing more 'evidences' for building my case for my ultimate strike!

Well, everything has gone as per plan and look forward to a belated financially rewarding results. I guess, I realised it was high time, people in HR stomped their foot down and said, enough!. We are not going to play and succumb to being made a victim of naccissist characters, likened to wolf hiding under the sheep skin.

Notwithstanding, what has happened to me, my conduct and behaviour over the period has been cautiously profesional in the "reduced" role that I facilitated and coached people to learn, improve and grow. As a result of this, I have earned my their respect, admiration and even sympathy over the limitations of HR predicatiment.

The "family" culture is so strongly entrenched that it muzzles people's creativity, morale and desire for engagement beyond the meagre salary they are paid.