If you asked your employees to use one word to describe how they feel about coming to work, what would they say? Would they use words like exciting, fun, eager, or fulfilling? Or would they say things like frustrating, dreadful, stressful, or depressing? I’m sure that you’d like to hear all of the positive terms, but the reality is that most of your employees really don’t like coming to work and it’s because of their negative experiences while being there.

Some employees call off work frequently and it isn’t always because they’re sick (or have a sick child/spouse). Many times, it’s to get away from the office that they dread coming to so much, and when they do come to work, it’s pretty obvious that they’re disconnected. As a leader, the question isn’t “why don’t my employees like coming to work”, but it should be “am I contributing to this problem”. There are many reasons why this happens, but leaders tend to overlook their involvement. In this post, we’ll get really honest about the real reasons why your employees don’t want to come to work and how you can fix that

1. You don’t engage your team

Employee engagement builds employee connection. It’s not enough for employees to just do a task, they should want to do it. However, it is up to leaders to influence this level of engagement with their staff. As a leader, you must make it a priority to know the concerns, ideas, passions, and motivators of each employee in order to effectively engage them.

2. You expect employees to motivate themselves

There was a teacher who once told a parent “it’s not my job to motivate your child”. As backward and unprofessional as this sounds, many leaders feel this way in the workplace as well. It is indeed the responsibility of any leader to motivate their team. If you’re not motivating your employees to be the best in what they do, you’re setting them up to fail.Episode 10: How to Motivate Your Staff

PRO tip: If you’re struggling with ways to motivate your employees, this episode of The New Culture Norm Podcast will help: Episode 10: How to Motivate Your Staff

3. You want employees to work non-stop

Your employees are not robots and you should not expect them to be workaholics. There may be over-achievers on your team that aim to do more than the bare minimum, but that isn’t the same as expecting them to live, sleep and breathe work. Allow your employees to feel more comfortable with stepping away from their desk. According to Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath’s article in the New York Times, “Employees who take a break every 90 minutes report a 30 percent higher level of focus than those who take no breaks or just one during the day”.

PRO tip: Don’t look at work breaks as a time for employees to goof off. Instead, encourage them to take breaks. It’ll increase their productivity and help them enjoy their working environment.

4. You don’t include employees in changes that affect them

Employees are more likely to buy into change efforts and support them if they are included in the process. A big mistake most leaders make when implementing change is only using the top-down perspective. This means that your insight is only coming from management.

PRO tip: If you want to make changes in your company that helps employees, be sure to get their feedback and actively include them in the process.

5. You don’t think it’s important for employees to like their workplace

Approaching your employees with the mindset of “you don’t have to like your job, just do it” is not good leadership practice. Not only does it disengage them, it’s very demeaning as well. Quite frankly, it’s also one of the reasons why they avoid coming to work.

According to Gallup, adults employed full time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week, which is almost a full workday longer than what a standard five-day, 9am to 5pm schedule entail. Your employees are in the office nearly 6 days per week, if not more. Shouldn’t they at least like their workplace?

PRO tip: Create a more desirable working environment for your employees (and yourself) by making culture building a priority. Considering what matters to your employees will not only allow you to hear their perspective, but it also builds a culture of community and engagement.
Check out this podcast episode for 5 simple, yet effective, ideas that will help you promote culture change.

6. You don’t make employee engagement a priority

The National Business Research Institute surveyed that 54% of U.S. employees are not engaged in their work and have “checked out”. If your employees are in this state, they’ve lost the desire to put forth their best effort. They aren’t motivated to apply or offer creative ideas/solutions to the team or organization, nor are they eager to come to work every day.

7. You think your team is perfect

No one is perfect and no team is perfect. Not getting feedback (good or bad) from your team doesn’t mean all is well and in fact, it means the opposite. If your employees aren’t sharing things with you, there could be some underlying reasons why (see reason #8 below). They may not feel comfortable talking to you, you may not seem approachable, they may fear that their feedback will cause retaliation, or worse, your employees don’t think that you care.

8. You only talk to employees when something is wrong

If your employees only hear from you when they’ve made a mistake, they’ll have no desire to speak with you any other time. This won’t only decrease the morale among your team, but it will also cause some hostility and resentment. Besides, who wants to work in a hostile environment when there’s no interaction from management unless something is wrong?
… Sounds like the perfect opportunity for your employees to use those spare sick days and play hooky.

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