Leaders must create workplaces that A-players want

Posted by Charles Middleton on 04/06/2018

Q: According to a recent Gallup survey, nearly 70 percent of employees are either partially engaged, disengaged or hostile at work. Why are so many employees not engaged at work? A: There are many employees that have such poor character and work ethic that they never will be engaged. But many times, it's the company culture and leadership that create the hostility themselves. Culture and the leadership have a tremendous impact the engagement level of the team. Do the leaders truly care for their employees as individuals, or view them as a means to an end? Is the culture empowering or punitive? Are leaders transparent or secretive about the company's finances or strategies? Q: What does it mean to be disengaged? A: Most disengaged employees put forth just enough effort to not get fired. They show little passion or creativity for their jobs and just go through the motions. Actively disengaged employees are disgruntled and voice their unhappiness to the rest of their peers. They look for ways to get out of work and are nightmares for team morale and company culture. These are the most damaging.

Q: How do disengaged employees affect Oklahoma businesses? A: Frontline employees influence up to 90 percent of the profitability of an average company. Employee engagement is one of the most untapped sources for increasing profits. You can't win the game of business with a disengaged team. Q: What can business leaders do about this? A: Cast a compelling vision backed by an inspiring purpose. Your employees want to come to work for more than just money. Employees are inspired to give their all when they feel their work has value.

Hire well. Great companies hire slowly and fire quickly. Utilize hiring practices that elevate character and attitude above skill and experience. Set clear expectations for your employees tied to a clear metric-driven plan. Employees should understand their individual roles for achieving the vision.

Q: Oklahoma unemployment is decreasing, meaning that there will be more jobs than there are good employees. What does this mean to businesses? A: As we approach a fully employed economy, it's harder to recruit and retain A-players. Leaders must create a place where A-players want to be. Businesses must be savvy in hiring, maintain a healthy culture, and compensate at or above market. The No. 1 reason an A-player leaves a company isn't money, but the tolerance of C-players by management.

PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER

Published The Oklahoman, April 6, 2018