Are your employees like dead ducks at their desks? Do they look like something the cat dragged in when they arrive in the mornings, only to get progressively worse throughout the day? Is there more thumb twiddling and Facebooking than productivity? These problems aren’t uncommon in today’s work environment, as job dissatisfaction is on the increase. This causes many people to either become fed-up (and simply hand in a letter of resignation) or to become apathetic (and die a slow death at their desks). The ones who stay can spread their negativity to other colleagues and your whole office can be affected by I-just-don’t-care. Here are some what causes of apathy and things that you can do about it.
Why don’t they care?
According to CNN.com, there are two types of unproductive employees: Those who are likable and entertaining but get nothing done, and those who have both skills and a bad attitude. The former would have been the first to get the chop during the recession, but the latter are definitely still lurking in the office, skulking and spreading their negativity like a bad case of the ‘flu. According to CNN.com, these workers are tolerated because they are talented. They have much-needed skills but they’re scared to leave their miserable jobs, as they’re too apathetic to find another one.
What to do?
It may seem impossible, but some of these apathetic workers can be turned around. CNN.com recommends that supervisors and managers make a point of talking to these employees one-on-one. If the problem is ignored, it will only fester and get worse, which will, potentially, harm the productivity of your whole company. Regular, productive feedback is important, as is open communication. If an employee is justifiably unhappy, then you can make changes to accommodate them. Managers also needs to be approachable and they need to have good relationships with all their employees. They can’t be some distant entity, hidden away in their huge office. Stress also plays a large part in apathy, so managers should ensure that employees know that their effort actually pays off.
The role of the manager
Managers are key to turning things around, but sometimes they can makes things worse! According to management-issues.org, managers need to ask themselves, “Does my existence at work beat apathy, or add to it?” Some managers are uninspired and dissatisfied with their own positions, which is fatal. This will only poison the entire corporate culture. Take a good look at yourself first, then move on from there.
Employee apathy can be beaten, but it takes lots of open communication and even self-evaluation on management’s part. It’s an increasingly common corporate problem, but if you give your employees a sense of purpose and opportunities to voice their grievances, you could stop apathy in its tracks.
Have you had to deal with employees that just don’t care? How have you dealt with this issue? Leave your small biz diamonds in the comments section below.
Ang Lloyd writes on behalf of Now Learning, an online education portal that promotes higher learning in Australia, including project and business management courses.
Have a successful day!