When a company is in an uproar, it’s estimated that employees will lose as much as 2 additional hours per day in productivity. The anxiety associated with change or even the possibility of change puts people into a distracted state beyond the norm.
But would you be surprised to know that there are other activities your employees are doing every day that can directly impact productivity?
- Looking For Their Next Job. Maybe not at their desk, but on their personal device. You have two groups of employees who are actively considering the next move in their profession. The first group includes your poor performers and disengaged employees who are survivalists by nature—smart enough to always have an exit strategy. The other group is problematic: these are your true “High-potential” employees. Why would they be looking? The strongest climbers go over the wall first… it’s critical they have engaged managers who can keep them motivated and appreciated.
- Leading others. That actually sounds good, right? It depends on which way they are leading. The ironic part of this “activity” is that many times your influencers are those who are vocal about what’s wrong with your company/management (or the flavor of the day). Your top performers are those who, in most cases, are leading by example. When times are good, all is well, but should things be shaky… keep your ears open as well as your eyes.
- Dreaming Big. Okay, this is definitely good; it’s gotta be! Yes, and yes—but… what kind of culture does your company project? Is it risk-tolerant? Is it innovative? Are those messages consistent with the way you manage and reward your employees? These are huge questions you need to ask about your workplace, because the opposite environment will kill the spirit of a “dreamer.” Innovation does not come without mistakes (insert egg & omelette metaphor here); if you haven’t established a track record of allowing for the process, warts and all, one of two things happen: the ideas are never shared OR the ideas are shared with the next employer.
Keep these thoughts in mind when you’re walking the floor because the remedy for these counter-productive activities can be as easy as opening your mouth. Communication is king, and it’s an equal opportunity solution. “HiPos” want vision, complainers want an audience, and dreamers want validation—doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.
John Whitaker (“Whit”) is a SVP and Chief People Officer at Sage Dental and the founder of HRHardball.com (2008). He specializes in building and developing strong recruiting teams who are unafraid of “kicking the ant pile.” Like most Texans, he loves to tell a story (especially those that include an armadillo or a poker game) and cutting through the chaff…don’t take it personal.