Fear driven success?
I went on a date the other week. That, in and of itself was interesting. Like a job interview that comes with more potential for judgement and you’re likely going to spill coffee on your white dress or have something green stuck in your teeth while trying to look casually attractive. All my nerves aside, the content of conversation on this date was interesting. This particular gentleman works for a global company and was discussing the rounds of layoffs and how he has had to be productive through the process. Something to the effect of “you may lose your job this round, you may not. Either way you need to keep doing what you’re paid for.” How’s that for employee engagement? Even if you’re lucky enough to survive this round of redundancies, who is to say you won’t be done in 3-6 months time when another round hits? Asking people to front up to work and simply be thankful to have a job does not promote an engaged workforce. You may have people present at desks, in meetings, pushing documents/product through - I can guarantee you that they are the poster people for what ‘Presenteeism’ looks like within a workplace. Fear is not a strong motivator for productivity long term.
Fear is palpable in Australia from a political standpoint currently. We are fearful of what is happening in our Government; we are fearful of what kind of flow on effect we will see based on the political choices of our allies - what impact will we see in Australia re: Brexit and the US election? We have fear in our media, we are being fed fear of the unknown from pretty much every angle in our lives. As a country, as a culture, Australian’s are trying to figure out if we are going to choose ‘fight or flight’ at every turn, we can’t turn that biology off. This then feeds back into how we interact within the workplace. If you wake up, watch the news over breakfast, listen to the radio into work, think about unanswered emails from yesterday, remember you forgot your lunch on the counter, you’re primed for presenteeism before you’ve even walked in the door. Extrapolate this across an entire workforce and this is what employers are facing, huge losses of productivity which then results in loss of jobs. Less people to do more. It’s a system under pressure.
This is where employee engagement has started to take its grip. We NEED this. We need to be told how to feel engaged, looked after, included, cared for, by someone who may have the answer. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest all offer up virtual solutions on how you can feel good, choose happiness and bring it into your day. These are all great places to start if you’re seeking inspiration/respite as an individual. The key is to take action. In the context of an employer or company, you can implement as many engagement strategies as you like, replicate the Google workspace until people are convinced they are going to work in California each day; until the company declares that they will take action in the system, it’s all for naught. Money could be better spent having puppies visit the worksite once a week for the difference in productivity that will occur if you don’t look at the underlying system.
If you’re an employer - I ask you this: if you have a series of buckets of money, which will give you long term return on investment? The answer is people working within supportive and transparent systems. Empower them with knowledge, don’t trap them through fear.
ThinkHowe can work with you and your business to review systems under stress. As a research, innovation, and design focused company we believe in creating the opportunity for people to succeed. Give ThinkHowe a call on +61406 990 816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our soon to be new and amazing website! www.thinkhowe.com