Thank your disgruntled employees

To fire or not to fire, that seems to be the top-of-the mind question when you have a disgruntled employee.

However, when you have a disengaged employee you typically have a few more choices that you think you have:

  1. Fire them up: Motivate them, inspire them, enable their productivity, pay special mentoring, coaching, grooming directed towards them.
  2. Bear the heat: disengaged employees often lead to lesser profitability of the firm and lead to bad customer service and experience. You can find a silver lining here in that this may be an opportunity for you to refine your skills at managing customers or fine-tuning your skills at alternate methods of profits.
  3. Fire them: Release them from their suffering to find a better fit somewhere else.

The above alternates have different underlying assumptions about the disengaged employees:

  1. Disengaged employees can be saved from falling thorough the cracks and can become engaged again.
  2. Disengagement is a phase and once they are given time to ‘get over it’ the problem will subside by itself. After all who doesn’t have mouths to feed?
  3. Disengaged employees are like Hydra and need to be removed as fast a possible.

Rare is the firm that sees disengaged employees as early sensors of the upcoming calamities; recognizes that the problems may be systemic, and takes corrective (and preventive) actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of the firm. They more too often wait till the tipping point before asking themselves ”what were they smoking?”

What other ways do you conceptualize disengaged employees? how do you deal with them?  what more options do you have?

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