Present, But Not There

Presenteeism.  This one word costs U.S. employers between $150-260 billion a year.  It’s a concept that is identified as a contributing factor to lower productivity and higher costs to employers.  By definition presenteeism is usually associated with employees coming to work who are medically ill, have an injury, or have an underlying anxiety.  In other words, something medically is keeping them from being fully present to their work.  As a business leader or HR Professional, you are most likely aware of policies and laws that protect employee’s benefits regarding paid time off and medical benefits.

Then there are the other employees with Presenteeism.  The unproductive employees who have every ability to perform at top-notch, but don’t due to lack of motivation and distraction.  These employees do barely enough to get by and are negatively affecting the work culture in a way that ultimately crumbles team collaboration and your bottom line.

So how do you address employee problems you’d rather avoid?

It’s human nature to avoid conflict.  It’s uncomfortable, awkward, and if not handled well can lead to blame and alienation.  On the other hand, if problems affecting the workplace morale and productivity are ignored, it leads to resentment from dedicated workers and related costs associated with staff turnover and the rehiring process.

Apply the acronym A.D.D.R.E.S.S.™ as a guideline to improve employees’ morale and productivity.  Here are 7 tips you can use today to address those employees who are not pulling their weight and depleting the workplace of vitality and productivity.

A – Address the problem.  Get the issue out in the open.  Conflicts are often under the table where everyone knows about them, but no one is directly addressing them.  Start with asking how the employee sees things are going with his role and contribution to creating success in the organization.  Once you hear and understand his perspective, share how you see things.  Problems can’t be resolved that aren’t addressed.  Inspire your employees to reach higher and bring their best self to work.

D – Deal with excuses, rationalizations by staying focused on the facts.  Though it is important to hear your employee’s viewpoint and validate their perceptions, stick to the facts.  If you don’t have facts, set up concrete parameters of how both of you will know when things have improved.  The point here is you are acknowledging past actions that haven’t worked and moving forward, together, figure out how things can become better.

D – Decide ahead of time you will be positive and firm.  Have a matter-of-fact tone of voice and curiosity that conveys respect while being firm.  Treat the issue at hand as a joint problem and show confidence that a solution can be found.

R – Remain calm.  Go into the meeting prepared, focused, and grounded in the company’s core values, as well as your role as a leader.  Remember your responsibility as a leader is to not only deliver business results, it is also staff development.  If you present as calm and clear-minded you will more likely enlist their cooperation because they will sense you really care about helping them be successful.

E – Encourage their involvement in the solution.  Use the situation as a means of teaching critical thinking skills.  This conveys the message that you value their opinion in coming up with a solution that will be much more impactful than you telling them what to do.  Telling creates resistance.  In addition, it conveys you trust them and see their capabilities, even though they may not.

S – Say what you appreciate about them.  As a society, we easily dwell on the negative behavior rather than acknowledging the strengths and capabilities of the problem employee.  Noticing positive choices and avoiding judgments is the path to rewiring your own brain as well as the employee to acknowledge the good.

S – Summarize the action plan.  Before leaving the meeting, ask for their understanding of what was discussed and the next steps.  Use this as an opportunity to clarify any negative assumptions.  Identify the possibilities of how things will be better.  Leave them with a note of hope and belief in their ability to turn things around.

These 7 tips serve as a guideline for ways to positively address problems in the workplace.  Every situation is unique and needs to be given much consideration in order to enhance the likelihood of a good outcome.  Avoid or eliminate staff development problems in your workplace that can affect your bottom line.  We can resolve them.  Contact me and together we can make the difference in your workplace culture.

Make the Conscious Choice to address problems positively and notice what happens to your work culture and productivity!