Employee disengagement is at a seven-year high, as nearly a fifth of American workers feel apathetic and unhappy with their jobs.
- A recent Gallup study found that U.S. employee engagement is at its lowest in seven years, with 18% of employees feeling “actively disengaged” in their work.
- McKinsey reports that these workers largely feel undervalued by their companies or teammates and do not feel connected to or rewarded by their work.
- In a recent Fortune op-ed, Time Etc. CEO Barnaby Lashbrooke claims that his workforce performance improved by 20% by replacing “managers” and “coaches” while changing his company’s approach to building relationships with employees.
- Coaches were hired at a rate of one per six employees, performed workshops, and helped their subordinates build a stronger connection to the company’s mission and values.
Why It’s Important
The disconnect between workers and their jobs is evidenced by the growing “quiet quitting” and “Great Resignation” trends of last year, with thousands of employees expressing their apathy and frustration with their jobs. Employers and hiring managers were panicked by the trends, as fears of productivity decline and worker shortages created concerns about the future. These trends have largely continued into this year.
Lashbrooke claims that his solution has made a significant impact on improving the lives of his employees and improving productivity. Employee turnover decreased, and Time Etc. jumped to the top of Gallup’s Q12 Survey on employee engagement.
“Our coaches have one very clear job to do: to help our employees be as productive as possible and, in doing so, achieve more. They offer close mentoring and feedback, encourage employees to identify how they work best, and ensure they are offered training and support to develop professionally. Like managers, coaches are still there to act as a first port of call when challenges arise. But instead of directing from above, the focus is on empowering and supporting the employee to find their own way forward,” says Lashbrooke.
Michael Lin is an Arizona-based leadership coach who teaches leadership seminars nationwide on how to manage employees through brutal and compassionate honesty and leadership. He tells Leaders Media that being a leader is a people business. “The truth will set you free, but it will hurt first. The right employees want to coach and want to learn.” Building connections with employees can be difficult but it pays off.
“Managers need to listen to these employees; to understand why they’re frustrated. You need to find their blindspots and discover what is holding them back. Make them feel like you understand their pain and suffering; to help them find solutions. If this employee is career-oriented, you need to help prevent them from burning out. Workers need the ability to apply themselves and endure emotional hardships while learning,” says Lin.
Not every employee is going to be responsive to this form of training and engagement, but not every employee is right for the job. Lin uses the example of a sports coach teaching a man who enjoys pizza and beer. The greatest coach in the world could not turn him into a football player. Sometimes a manager needs to tell the difference between employees that want to work and those that do not. Those who do want to work will be highly receptive to growth and see their productivity increase.