Monotony – Bad : Variety – Good
In the daily grind, it is very important to try to stay away from the daily grind. It doesn’t matter what we do for a job, we will always have those niggling little duties that are tedious but just have to be done.
There are 2 fast ways to cause stress in an employee. The first is the most commonly understood and recognised, overworked and undervalued. Asking someone to do more work than they are capable of coping with. They end up bogged down with their to-do list getting long er and longer with no end in sight. This is de-motivating and further reduces productivity. You are looking at someone who is very likely to burn out in a short space of time.
The less recognised cause of stress is the lack of variety. This is impacts on the creative personality the most. In many ways this can be more detrimental than over working. First of all the mind starts to wander, when that happens mistakes start to be made. Self doubt and stress develop.
Make sure that your staff stay engaged, break up the monotony of the day-to-day with other tasks and challenges that they can get their teeth into. If there is nothing in their working role that allows that to happen consider a rotational pattern to allow people variety, or allow challenges in other ways.
A challenged and engaged employee tends to be more successful, less prone to making mistakes, and more likely to engage with new ideas when they come along. A failure to engage and support staff is a slippery slope to malcontent. Once you have a disgruntled member of staff, it becomes more and more difficult to bring them back.
People have different levels of tolerance for stress and boredom, so there is not yardstick measure of what is right. Each person should be treated as the individual they are. Regular contact with the troops is the best way to notice those changes in mood. This is where larger companies are sometimes sadly lacking.
Listening to the staff is only half the battle and many of the people in this situation may have already reached the point of “What is the point of complaining? Nothing ever changes!” Sadly, this is very often the case. Many companies call themselves “Investors in People” and have a nice plaque in their offices to prove it. In most cases this means that they have training and development programmes in place. That is not really investing in people, that is just making sure your staff have the skills to do the job. Once again they miss out that important factor of Emotional Salary. Remembering that their staff are people and individuals, and not just pieces of equipment. Companies even avoid calling the staff their people, using instead the term FTE (Full Time Employee). A personal dislike of mine. That is distancing language, it is dehumanising the individual into a 35 hour a week piece of equipment.
Everyone has a different set of skills and traits that make them what they are, this should be taken into consideration when you are recruiting and when you are developing staff. We are still very much in the mind of employing people for a role. This is fine in its own way, as long as you are clear what the role is and its responsibilities, but how much more amazing would it be to find someone with skills and think “how can I use them?” Now that would be recruitment way ahead of the crowd.
Look at the people you have already, you may have lurking in your teams a new Sales person, a team manager or an analyst. Don’t get bogged down on if they have experience, aptitude and skill sets can be developed; attitude needs to be nurtured.
No one employs unmotivated negative individuals, they are created by who they work for.