Malnourished Employees

Sometimes a comment is just too good to keep in the “comments zone.” A comment that was posted today in regards to my post about the “care and feeding of talent” made me laugh and cringe at the same time…sad to say it is so true, so true…

6 suggestions for supervisors from a malnourished employee:
1. Don’t get in the habit of hiding! When you do we get anxious about sporadic outbursts.
2. Communicate openly. We all need feedback. It validates our work. But it shouldn’t come solely from behind a closed door.
3. Check your personal problems at the door. Please. We’ll do the same.
4. Actively engage your staff in new challenges. This energizes us!
5. Don’t treat your staff members like your children. It feels nice at first but eventually blurs boundaries and leads to frustration. We value a professional working environment more than you might realize.
6. Accept our accomplishments as an invitation to help us grow.
Sooooooooooo, if you’re one of these “malnurioushed employees” how are you going to get fed (before you dry up and wither away…or polish up your resume)? If you’re one of these managers/supervisors who are so caught up in your hide-away worlds of email communications and spreadsheets, when are you going to get activated to initiate your withering staff…Before you lose those talented starving staff members?

Care and Feeding of Talent–It’ll Blossom if you Water It

I’ve been thinking a whole bunch about Talent Management lately (and more than that, I’ve been acting on these thougths…more on that in posts to come…) But for now, I just had to revisit this post from Library Bytes back in Feb….In this post Helene shares info about how a company handles its Talent–in a serious, meaningful and direct manner. Their practices are full of good old-fashioned shock waves…that really shouldn’t need to shock us at all–they make good common sense! Why wouldn’t we want staff working in the jobs they WANT to be in–using their BEST talents and skills–instead of trying to push them into molds of accountabilities and “core competencies” that are strictly about tasks and deliverables? We have to be mining talent and keeping an eye open to it…giving talent an opportunity to unleash itself…and unleash itself in ways that we can’t prescribe in workplans or check lists. Just like the grande general subject of “Life,” Talent is organic, expressive and begging to be set free… It’s out there folks, waiting to blossom, even in the driest of work settings. If you see it, commit to nurture it with freedom, a little elbow room, a few budget dollars, a note of encouragement–you’ve got to water that Talent in order for it to grow! (Especially in an enviroment or work culture that is used to being insular, non-connected, and outputs driven).

Back to the featured company in the article: I even like the sound of their 18 month “engagement survey” they send to all staff. Sounds a lot better than the “employee climate survey,” huh? We want ENGAGED employees, not “CLIMATIZED” ones! Right?! Right? Let me here about it. How is YOUR talent being set free OR not?

Unleash The Talent

How well do you know the staff members that work right beside you…the ones that you interact with periodically but sometimes forget their names…or even the ones you supervise on a daily basis? A better question than this–as far as a productive work environment goes–how well do you know the staff member’s skills and talents? Or just plain old interests. Simple as that. What we are finding more and more is that if you aren’t tapping into the best talents and skills of a staff member (regardless of whether these talents and skills fit directly into their prescribed job description) then the best work and optimal job satisfaction is not being touched on. It’s not just about getting the job done, folks. We’re talking impact on on many levels. It’s all holographic…many levels, many activities, all moving parts contributing to a whole.
So, let me get grounded here…. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests that we’re often overlooking the talent that surrounds us each day as we look for something more elusive, some talent that rests in another organization or another business.When–surprise–some of our best talent is right outside our door, left to plug away at tasks or duties, often uninspired and stale. The article points out: “Companies are filled with alienated employees who feel underutilized and ignored, and are either coasting or searching for new jobs elsewhere. A whopping 70% of U.S. employees say they feel either ‘not engaged’ or “actively disengaged” at work, according to a recent survey by the Gallup Organization. “
There are pockets of skill, talent–shall we say even passion? Why not? These pockets are often only as deep as we delve. The article goes on to say that “coaching” is the key to tapping into and opening up this talent. True in most cases. Personally, I am a bit over the word “coaching” as it is so used and misused and often a cop-out practice by organizations when some staff simply need to be managed out of a system and encouraged to move on. I don’t know if it’s so much about “coaching” a staff member to help them flourish as it is about just starting to recognize them as having something beneficial that can feed into an existing program or service and amp it up. It doesn’t have to be a planned process so much as a nod to “go ahead, run with that idea.” Who couldn’t name at least one person who could bring a new voice, a new perspective, a new spin or sparkle to an existing service just by being invited into the loop? Why don’t we invite them in? Take the leash off their necks (and desks). Free them up for a day, a week, a month to run wild with a idea. Great things could happen. The process alone is freeing, and in that it is great. If you recongizea skill or talent or simply a good idea on the job–recognize it, name it immediately…you will likely unleash a tethered talent. And follow-up…young talent, especially, can be strong–but shy.