Do your frontline employees ever behave like this woman?

Recently I dropped my son off at school after a dentist trip.

On the way back to the office I stopped by a coffee shop close to the school that makes a great takeaway.

It’s a very constricted place – when you’re at the counter you’re an absolute maximum of 10 feet from anyone behind the counter.  So, unless the people behind the counter are whispering quietly, you cannot help but hear them.

And what I heard was just one prolonged moan from an employee to her colleague about a supervisor (who of course wasn’t present).

Maybe what had irritated her so much was an isolated incident.

But I didn’t think so…

Firstly, she was talking for the full 2 or 3 minutes in those hushed tones to her colleague.

Secondly, she then went to the till and picked up a postit (that she had obviously seen before) and used it as evidence as she complained to her colleague about what the instruction on the postit was asking her to do.

What’s going on there do you think?

What’s the history that’s causing that employee to feel that way and to then be unable and/or unwilling to exhibit restraint in full public view?

One word is disconnection.

At that precise time that employee was disengaged.

And I’m talking about engagement rather than satisfaction. Employee satisfaction is just that – an employee having their needs met in terms of their jobs and work environment.

But satisfied employees might not necessarily be engaged – and this is because engagement means more. It’s about commitment, passion, and what employees do with their discretionary effort.

How engaged are your employees?  How do they represent your business?  How would you know?

I was talking with a client yesterday about one of the senior members of his team.  I asked my client how he’d know if that valued team member had an idea on how to drive the business forward.  My client humbly took the point.  He wouldn’t know unless the employee proactively spoke up.  And the reason was that the employee wasn’t either being asked for his ideas or being told that his ideas were welcome.

You and I are both old enough to have worked in environments where you just knew that ideas were welcomed by management and also in other environments where the opposite was the case.

You’re fostering an environment in your workplace.  Your fostering may be deliberate.  It may be accidental.  But you can be certain that it is happening.  What type of environment is it?  If you’re anything less than fully confident that your employees are engaged, take a quick read of this.

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