Sunday, March 24, 2013

Frustration In The Workplace Is A Silent Killer


"Frustration in the workplace is a silent killer," claim authors Mark Royal and Tom Agnew in their terrific book, The Enemy of Engagement.

Further, "in an organizational context, frustration is not as simple as failing to get something you want.  Rather, it involves the inability to succeed in your role due to organizational barriers or the inability to bring the bulk of your individual talents, skills, and abilities to your job."

Royal and Agnew further explain that a staggering number of highly motivated, engaged, and loyal employees quit trying--or quit, period---because they feel frustrated.

  • And what's causing all that frustration?  It's lack of enablement

According to Royal and Agnew, as employees grow in experience in their roles, they begin to focus less on learning the ropes and more on achieving desired results.  In the process, they are increasingly confronted with enablement constraints that limit their ability to get their jobs done effectively. 

  • And, the employees who are frustrated are not the demotivated and disengaged employees who simply don't care enough about organizational success to become deeply frustrated.
In the book, you'll learn how to enable employees, including these techniques:
  • Put them in optimized roles that leverage their skills and abilities
  • Give them the tools, technology, information, and a supportive environment
  • Get out of their way
  • Don't introduce procedural barriers
  • Don't dilute their focus
  • Don't consume their energy with tasks that don't add value

Much of the book discusses how engagement and why it's imperative employees can be engaged so they feel they are contributing in a positive way to something larger them themselves.   And Royal and Agnew build the case for why both enablement AND engagement are critical.

That's because, according to the authors' research:
  • Companies that both engage and enable employees demonstrate total reduction in voluntary turnover by 54 percent.
  • Engaged employees are 10 percent more likely to exceed performance expectations, but highly engaged and enabled employees are 50 percent more likely to outperform expectations.
Finally, you'll find a solid list of to-do's for positioning motivated employees to succeed and for enhancing employee enablement as the authors provide expert guidance related to:
  • Performance management
  • Authority and empowerment
  • Resources
  • Training
  • Collaboration
  • Work, structure and process
If you are leading an organization where your employees are not engaged and not enabled, The Enemy of Engagement is a must-read book for you.  Don't let your employees be part of these findings by various Hay Group surveys (cited by the authors) where they found that:
  • 30 percent of employees indicate that they do not have enough authority to carry out their jobs effectively.
  • Nearly one-third of employees do not feel that their managers encourage them to come up with new and better ways of doing things.
  • One-third of employees report that they do not have the resources and information they need to do their jobs well.
  • Nearly half of employees do not feel that their teams receive high-quality support from other teams within their organizations.
  • Nearly 45 percent of employees report that their organizations are insufficiently innovative in using new technologies or creative approaches to improve internal effectiveness.

Note:  Thank you to Amacom for sending me an advance copy of this book.

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