Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Even the most dedicated employees sometimes find it difficult to stay committed to the organization. Personal problems aside, finding the connection and staying focused is often a challenge. When your most productive employee is having problems staying focused, don’t despair. There are things you can do to bring them back into focus and help them regain that feeling of purpose on the job.
Help your staff identify objectives. It’s not only important for employees to understand their personal objectives, but the objectives of the department and organization as well. Understanding the “big picture” helps them to gain a new prospective of the organization. Seeing what is on the horizon can be very exciting to employees and help foster a sense of ownership and commitment. Communicate the vision for the future to help with the present.
Identify and set a game plan to address employee concerns. While it is impossible to make everyone happy, it’s important to understand and resolve the sources of your employee’s discontent. Whether it’s through one on one meetings or focus groups, it’s important to not only identify their concerns, but to resolve the issues that can be resolved.
Recognize not only the achievement, but the sincere attempts at achieving the goal. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. Celebrate the milestones and effort along the way. If the employee feels appreciated, they will be motivated to continue toward the goals. Even if funds are tight, find creative ways to recognize and reward employees. Sometimes even simple dollar store prizes are a fun way to recognize efforts.
Keep your own behavior and communication patterns in mind. If the employees see you being inconsistent or visibly worried about the status of the organization, they will feel it as well. Remain upbeat and maintain open communication with your staff. There will be times when information can’t be shared, but share when you can.
Make sure that policies and procedures are in line with the desired outcomes. There is nothing worse than trying to achieve a company desired goal, then when the company gets in the way with procedures that block every attempt at success.
Help employees recognize their own career goals. Cross training and other new learning experiences will help employees learn new skills while helping the organization to succeed.
If employees appear to be less than enthusiastic or receptive to your attempt to change, it may take a bit more work to gain their buy in. Past disappointments in the “system” may have created a cynical attitude to your attempt to help. Help them to understand the best way to go is to let go of the past and look toward the future by changing the present.