Photo by: Dyanna Hyde

Photo by: Dyanna Hyde

Last night, I was watching one of those addictive reality shows that gets you guessing about the value of “one person’s junk”. The B-plot of the episode of this particular show, set in a pawn shop, was about issues the owner was having with his employees. Apparently, they were cheating when it came to clocking in and out; they sometimes had their peers do it for them. The owner needed to find a way to change this behaviour so he wasn’t paying employees for work they weren’t really doing.

“This is interesting”, I thought. And so I sat waiting to see how they would acknowledge the issue of disengaged employees and work to create more loyalty and buy-in among the group.

What did they end up doing? They implemented an impossible-to-cheat high-tech thumbprint clock-in system. The son of the owner got big kudos for this “great idea”. Now, I don’t claim to know anything about the pawn shop business, but I do know that people are people.  This new system screams:  “We don’t trust you AT ALL. EVER!” What affect do you think that will have long-term on their work behaviour?

It would have been much more complex to deal with the real issue: the employees are just not that into their work. This is not a quick-fix issue, but it’s not an unsolvable one, either.

Here’s a tool would have helped: The Gallup Organization’s “12 Elements of Engagement”. Highly engaged employees report the following:

1. I know what is expected of me at work.
2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
10. I have a best friend at work.
11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Are these elements true for your people? If you’re not sure, I invite you to ask! Then discuss, brainstorm, advise, share, coach, adjust your behaviour, advocate for change…..whatever might help move them closer to the target.

And what about for YOU at work? If you’re feeling “eh” about your job, perhaps this list will help you to put your finger on what more you need from your manager or your organization.