A Little More Advice For How to Re-Engage the Fatigued Employee

Last week, I shared here a summary of my SHRM 2014 annual conference presentation in Orlando – How to Transform Employee Fatigue into Employee Engagement – and also shared it on my LinkedIn profile blog.

That posting received several comments, which I appreciate greatly. A few of these comments in particular raised additional points that add tremendous value to my original post.

Defining and communicating the “WHY”

To engage more fully, employees need to know the deeper meaning and value of the work they do every day. Mike Denison | FIC | Executive Coach made this additional point:

Companies and managers could do a lot worse than making sure THE WHY of the organization is fully understood. Many employees don’t have anything to feel part of, they come to work to live outside of work. Engaged employees come to work because they have a sense of purpose that in line with the purpose and meaning of the organisation.

Try megaphoning and articulating THE WHY of the organization more and see what happens. Oh, by the way, the WHY is never money / profit / shareholder value, those are results and outcomes, the WHY is a feeling of the value you bring to society and a sense of direction and purpose.”

Eric Branham added on to Mr. Denison’s comment:

“I agree with Mr. Denison. Many companies’ ‘core values’ read more like your list of impacted results above. For many employees the inspiration will come not from being told how they impact the bottom line, but whether or not they feel that their own work is contributing to something positive for the community at large. So, just how big is the picture you are presenting, and how do your core values align with it?”

Making performance reviews relevant

Mr. Branham went on to say:

In addition, I would suggest that performance reviews should be adjusted to include some input from direct reports. Giving the supervised some level of input on the performance of the supervisor would help in a number of ways, not the least of which is that crucial factor in any business: ownership.

Many employees become dissatisfied as a result of feeling that they have no avenue for changing the situation positively. Opening up some portion of the review process to direct reports would help to create a leadership structure that is open, communicative, and RESPONSIVE to team members at every level.”

While a social recognition program isn’t the place to capture negative or constructive feedback, a well-designed, strategic program will encourage recognition from anyone to anyone, which includes recognition from employees to superiors. This gives an additional avenue for upward recognition is happening, for what reasons and if not, why not.

Andries Fourie also commented:

To me, this is why a meaningful career development discussion is such a powerful tool for a manager/leader. If we can assist an employee to:

  1. Set great goals for personal and work growth;
  2. Get rid of beliefs, rules and values that are holding him/her back;
  3. Find what he/she is passionate about, to find his/her purpose; and
  4. Understand the importance of his/her role in the team’s overall performance and how the above will affect that, then we will have engaged employees.”

The over-worked employee

I’ll admit, my SHRM presentation started out with 10 types of fatigued employees, which I had to reduce to 5 for time constraints. Bob Korzeniowski, MBA, CPA, PMP calls to mind one of those types:

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Your article misses this: The over-worked employee. You know, the one who works a lot of overtime and does this for long stretches of time. They need time off to rest and recharge, so give them more vacation time.”

Overworked employees might be the most difficult to diagnose for intervention. Keep in mind the truism, “If you want something to get done, give it to a busy person.” Yet, these people are among the most important to keep an eye on because they are clearly valuable to the organization. Recognizing their efforts and engaging in detailed performance conversations are quite critical to their success.

The Last Word

I’ll give the last word to Erick Hjortsvang, who puts it so eloquently:

Give recognition. Provide the tools to succeed. Understand that advice is not a resource. Ask the employees what they would want and, if not counter to the company or goals, then they might be re-engaged.”

What about you? What kind of fatigued employees do you see in your organization? What additional advice or insight would you offer?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.

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