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Avoid dissatisfaction, stagnation, burnout
2014, Littler published its third annual Executive Employer Survey, which
examined how the nation’s largest employers are being affected by current economic
conditions and regulatory changes.
Not surprisingly, the survey found an
increase in the number of employers whose employees are so disenchanted and
disengaged that they’re suing their companies more aggressively, primarily for discrimination
survey confirmed what many employers already knew: Workers feel burned out,
threatened and overwhelmed by the pace of change. The constant introduction of
new technologies, expanding workloads, an inability to maintain a healthy work/life
balance and the fear of losing one’s job are eating away at morale—even as the media
reports lower unemployment and higher job growth prospects across the nation.
employees have difficulty keeping up and begin fearing for their jobs, they sometimes
protect themselves in any way they can. That could mean more extended leaves of
absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the Americans with
Disabilities Act, an uptick in workers’ compensation claims or an increase in wrongful
termination lawsuits. In the latter case, workers can often justify such suits
as a way to remain financially solvent.
the employer, sense your workers are prone to burnout—or even inclined to sue—there
are ways to re-energize and re-engage them that tend to work well across
short, you can avoid a sense of panic or helplessness among your workers by
making them feel included, supported, engaged and rejuvenated.
Give Employees Chances to Reinvent Themselves
of books examine how to motivate workers when sometimes, all they really need
is to feel their superiors care about them on a personal level. It’s hard to
care about someone you don’t know well, and genuinely getting to know your employees
only happens when you spend time with them.
You might want to start by initiating
one-on-one conversations with your workers wherein you ask the following:
Master the Art of Appreciation and
about the best boss you ever had. He or she probably listened to you, valued
your contributions and suggestions, had your back, and wanted what was best for
you. Would the people on your team consider you that type of boss? Where would
your organization rank if your employees had to grade their supervisors?
company offers on-the-spot or special recognition awards, use them. Celebrate
successes openly and be generous in crediting your people for their efforts.
Consider one-on-one lunches with your direct reports to catch up and reconnect
with them, professionally and personally. Tell people how much you value them
and how much they mean to the organization. It’s far better to have this
discussion now than after they give notice.
Change It Up
is the spice of life … and arguably of a workplace as well. Take a half day
off—as a team—to go see a movie. Think of new, creative ways you can offer
scheduling flexibility. Create a job-shadowing program that allows workers to try
out new skills. Introduce a rotational shift in responsibilities to break up
the routine and to give employees an idea what their colleagues do.
sense that “we’re all in this together” and “we’ve got each other’s backs” will
bolster employee morale.
general, workers don’t file lawsuits—or have litigious thoughts—if they believe
their managers are on their side and helping them get ahead.
Falcone is a human resource executive and author based in Los Angeles.
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