Set the Stage for Engagement

Low pay is a dissatisfaction for employees but high pay by itself won’t keep the best people around. Transactional leadership might be a motivator when money and better benefits are available, but today’s climate seems to lend itself more to transformational leadership where a caring leadership can stimulate innovation, creative thinking, and productivity.

In Healing the Wounds, David A. Noer writes how the emotional impact of downsizing and the subsequent extra workload disturbs employee morale and productivity long after the fact. The study found that such feelings of stress, fatigue, and depression can last five years and more, imposing a strain on organizations’ competitiveness. Not only was there a sense of unfairness and anger over top management pay and severance, but symptoms of insecurity, anxiety, and fear that discouraged innovation and creative thinking. As Noer wrote, “There seemed to be a much stronger feeling among lay-off survivors that the organization was not in the business of looking out for its employees and that their loyalty was to themselves and to their unit, not to the overall organization.”

Clearly, after as much as five years, employees still suffered from the “survivor-blaming phenomenon,” as Noer called it. Managers and their staffs were unhappy and could be easily tempted to check out other job possibilities if they surfaced. New recruits heard stories that made them question their decision to join the company ranks.

Gallup, one of the world’s top research organizations, has always found the ratio of engaged to disengaged employees to be problematic. The recent economy would suggest the situation to have become more severe. This would suggest a review of corporate management practices to see that these 12 elements as proposed by Gallup are supported within the organization:

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About the Author

Florence Stone is editorial director for AMA and editor of MWorld, AMA’s quarterly membership journal. She is the author of Coaching, Counseling & Mentoring, The Manager’s Question and Answer Book and The Essential New Manager’s Kit.

To learn more about the American Management Association, click here.

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