There is a certain type of person that takes great delight in doing everything possible to avoid work. I have seen them in action, or perhaps I should say I have seen their inaction, in many different situations and from what I can see they generally have one, or a combination of motivations:
2. A need to demonstrate their “superiority”, through their ability to “fool the boss”;
3. Their need to belong, or just peer pressure … being led by the “instigators”;
4. The “thrill” of the game … because they are not really challenged by their work; and
5. Sometimes it is the only “control” that they feel they have.
“It’s sad, really, how a negative workplace can impact our lives and the way we feel about ourselves. The situation is reaching pandemic heights – most people go to work at jobs they dislike, supervised by people who don’t care about them, and directed by senior leaders who are often clueless about where to take the company.” Leigh Branham and Mark Hirschfeld
If you are a business owner, or a leader within an organization then obviously this kind of “worker” (non-worker) is not good for business, but what can you do about it?
If it is not already an embedded culture within your organization then you need to move fast and “stop the rot”.
“If you want to learn about a culture listen to the stories. If you want to change a culture change the stories” Anonymous.
It is not always possible to make employees feel engaged, but it is possible to measure productivity. If it is a possibility to tie pay to performance, rewards to performance and/or recognition to performance it might help. An employee who is rewarded, whether financially or otherwise), by “what they do”, rather than by “time put in”, might find some motivation to actually do the job.
“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” Simon Sinek
Engagement is a BIG word … but the essence of the problem is a divide between the person doing the work, and the management/ownership. It is possible to get people engaged, but it takes a big effort, a real willingness to do that heavy lifting, an honesty about wanting to have engagement and it needs to be done for the right reasons … not just because it is good for productivity.
“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” Doug Conant
Sometimes you need to remove the toxic influencers… just like the story of the bad apples affecting the good, a toxic personality can have a devastating impact on those around them. I heard a quote recently that
“Some people are like clouds, when they disappear it is a brighter day”.
Communicate… a lot. People need to know you value them. People need to understand the big picture. People want to feel a part of something. People want to be recognized.
“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” Tom Peters
This is a problem faced by many large, bureaucratic types of organizations and once that culture is embedded it is incredibly difficult to change. For smaller companies this is a great reason to establish the culture that you want, right from the beginning.