Maybe I’m naïve, but I don’t believe that employees consciously show up the first day on a new job and say “I don’t care if I am engaged or not, I just need to collect a paycheck.” Okay, so there are some people who ultimately end up feeling that way and have chosen to emotionally quit while still physically sitting in their chair at work but that’s not usually how the journey begins.
We start off by wanting not just to date, but also to get married to our company’s mission, vision and purpose. We all desire to feel highly connected with what we do. Engagement is what motivates people not only to feel dedicated to their job and their life, but also to feel rewarded by what they do and how they do it. It pushes people to look at things differently and go above and beyond, not because they have to, but because they want to.
Engagement is buying in, going all in, and remaining within and contributing to the passion and mission of our company. It’s what separates the striving companies from the thriving ones, the happy folks from the unhappy ones, the smiles from the frowns, and the success stories from the shattered dreams. The end of the journey should be to find an environment where you can thrive, not just survive day-to-day.
Engaged employees have 3 main characteristics in how they show up and behave at work. They are:
They look forward to working with others for the good of the organization and are filled with ideas about how to make it even better. They are aligned with what their company stands for and are fully committed to making them successful.
As with any long road trip, things can happen along the way to derail the journey. You might run out of gas, come upon a detour or unknowingly hit a pothole that leaves you with a flat tire. These are all analogies for falling into disengagement on the job, no matter the reason why.
How can someone tell if their employee (or themselves) have indeed hit that proverbial pothole in the road? Here are my 7 warning signs to look out for on your ‘dashboard’ of engagement.
- An ‘I don’t care’ attitude
- More frequent episodes of lateness, leaving early or calling in sick
- Productivity declines along with quality
- Frequent mood swings
- Isolating themselves from others
- Lack of creativity
- Lethargic, low energy
One doesn’t need to have all 7 of these warning signs to show up to signify disengagement. As with any kind of dashboard warning sign on a car, even one light can signify a problem that needs to be checked out. The key is to do proactive maintenance to ensure that the journey ahead will be a smooth one. Baring that, then quickly recognizing the potential problems and taking steps to fix what’s not working is the best way to get back on the road to engagement.
Today’s high tech cars all have dashboard systems that are designed to quickly diagnose a problem and let the driver know something is amiss before it becomes too big a problem to handle. It’s too bad we don’t have those same sensors in the workplace so it’s up to our managers to know the warning signs to look out for before it’s too late and the journey ends badly for all involved.
If you are wondering what’s going on with you or someone that works for you and want to do some diagnostics before the problem gets too out of hand, just shoot me an email and I will be happy to send you my Invisibility Index™ tool to help you identify if disengagement has set in.
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