Another update from the Jungle….
Corrie is bored with her job. It hasn’t challenged her skills in years or put her in line for a promotion. She’s tried to find other jobs but the truth is that she’s unlikely to get a big enough salary increase to offset the loss of her current benefits package.
To pass the time and alleviate her boredom, she creates imaginary scenarios for her job. When her boss gives her a new assignment, she pretends its part of a great military plan, like Operation Overlord. She imagines herself working in a small office in London, helping plan the D-Day invasion.
When she takes a business trip, she pretends she’s an agent dropped into occupied France to support the French Resistance. As she drives, she thinks of the highway patrol as roving bands of collaborators looking for Resistance workers they can arrest and interrogate. When she checks in to a hotel, she scouts the lobby for exits in case she needs to beat a quick retreat from a Gestapo raid.
It’s all rather harmless fun and it helps to pass the time in a job that has long since ceased to challenge her intellectually. Before she unleashed her imagination, Corrie struggled to find meaning in her job. She volunteered for extra assignments to broaden her skills and make new contacts.
But Corrie stopped caring after the management team downsized the workforce. She’s survived several staff reductions since the first big cull of the herd by keeping her head down and her opinions to herself. She no longer volunteers for special projects but her past volunteerism means her boss considers her a “team player” and Corrie thinks that’s helped her keep her job.
Corrie’s low morale and disengagement is matched by most of her co-workers. Management tries to raise morale with team building exercises, like the time they insisted everyone had to go play laser tag. (All the senior managers were “killed” within half an hour, boosting morale among all other workers.)
What could this company do differently to rebuild employee engagement?
- The company could do a one-off pay increase which would engage workers who are motivated by money.
- The company could allow 4 hours a pay period for each employee to work on a project that motivates the employee, such as volunteering for a non-profit.
- The company could create a cross-training program in which employees transfer temporarily to a different job or department to learn new skills.
The above scenario is based on actual job experiences. However, all identifying information has been removed to protect everyone involved.
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