HR Advice: 7 Lessons on Disengaging Employees
If you have children that are, say, 5 to 20 years old then you must be familiar with SpongeBob Squarepants’ Opposite Day. SpongeBob is tricked into thinking he must do and say things that are the opposite of what he would normally do or say. Well similarly, Christina Wildermuth, Assistant Professor of Education at Drake University, provides us with HR advice, or rather “anti-advice,” on how to engage employees in the workplace.
Employee engagement is all the buzz these days. Engaged employees tend to enjoy their jobs, are more focused, tend to go the extra mile and are loyal. So, employee engagement is a noble pursuit for HR professionals and management. Wildermuth points out that many employees are naturally inclined to be proactively involved at work and this engagement is the company’s to lose. She offers the following seven lessons of HR advice that are sure to disengage people who start out involved and enthusiastic: (I may have embellished these a bit.)
- Enforce unnecessary rules – Ensure employees conform to many rules which stifle creativity and do not allow employees to be who they are. Uniformity and conformity go hand in hand. Smother innovation wherever you find it.
- Make employees fear for their job – Engaged employees feel safe at work. Make sure each employee feels he or she is inadequate. Set unrealistic goals and lead with a stick.
- Make it boring – This is relatively easy. Assign employees many mundane tasks and ignore their need for learning and growth. Remember boredom is the new workplace stress, utilize it.
- Ignore individual contributions – Recognizing accomplishments is hard work so why do it? If you feel you must recognize your employees, do so collectively and generically. This is sure to get your top performers to leave.
- Pay no attention to human relations issues – We need people to get the work done and people are messy. Use this to your advantage and ignore conflicts, ignore different work styles, and, by all means, ignore inappropriate workplace conduct.
- Work your employees to death – This probably doesn’t need further explanation but I will offer one anyway. All employees are secretly workaholics. They thrive on routine night and weekend meetings. 60 to 70 hour workweeks should be the norm.
- Ignore the culture of the organization in your hiring process – Make sure you hire employees who do not fit in. You will have a higher chance of success here if you do not define and promote a positive culture.
You can read Christina Wildermuth’s full article here.
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