I call them the “working dead” – those employees who have outlived their usefulness and are trying to destroy the “motivated others” who are contributing to the overall health and success of your SNF/nursing home or assisted living facility. These negative employees do not start off wanting to be part of the “working dead” but by not pulling their weight and constantly sharing negative thoughts they are spreading employee disengagement throughout your organization and impacting performance, efficiency and even the care that you provide.
How Many Do You Have in Your Organization?
Gallup’s latest “State of the American Workplace” states that 18% of your staff are actively disengaged. They can be characterized by their lack of commitment to the organization or their co-workers, and their constant negativity. Not only are they not pulling their own weight, they are actually working against all that you are trying to accomplish. They are “actively” disengaged because they are tearing down what you are trying to build. That means one out of every five people you encounter today at work is working against you.
What the “Working Dead” Are Costing You in Dollars
There is a business impact to all those negative and ineffectual workers. Gallup’s research shows that when compared to low engagement businesses, those with the highest engagement have:
- 37% lower absenteeism
- 10% higher customer metrics
- 22% higher profitability
- 48% fewer safety incidents
- 41% fewer patient safety incidents
Think about the dollars involved with those above numbers and the impact any of them would make in your own organization. Most importantly, think about the difference all those double-digit improvements would make in patients’ and residents’ lives.
What Can You Do About It?
As a manager what can you do to motivate, inspire and change direction?
Use your Greatest Weapon
Gallup’s study also found that managers who focus on their employees’ strengths could practically eliminate active disengagement and double the workers who are engaged. Imagine eliminating negative and counter-productive attitudes by simply focusing on what employees do well. Don’t assume that employees know their strengths. Help them discover their greatest talents by listening to the issues that they raise or identifying when they seem to work effortlessly. Through observation you can uncover their strengths and then focus on matching them to projects and assignments that leverage their passion.
Be a Leader not a Friend
Leadership is tough stuff. You can’t always be the boss who is a friend. Do that and your problem employees will never get dealt with, will continue to infect others and you’ll be left with a cast of characters that can drive a organization off the road to success. You know that person you were thinking of when I described the negative characteristics? The one you have given lots of chances to but nothing’s changed? It’s not acceptable.
Take Action or Lose
There are a thousand and one books on employee engagement. You can study every one of them, but it doesn’t really matter if you fail to do anything with all that information. Profoundly simple I know. Yet this simple concept stands in the way of so many leaders. You know what you should be doing, but are you doing it? If I asked your employees what would they say?
A Checklist to Predict Employee and Workgroup Performance
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
- At work, my opinions seem to count.
- The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
- My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
- I have a best friend at work.
- In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
- This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow. (Gallup, Inc.)
Denise Boudreau-Scott, MHA, LNHA, is owner of Denise B. Scott, LLC, which helps healthcare organizations improve the resident and staff experience, and their bottom-line, through stronger leaders and engaged employees. To contact Denise, you can reach her at email@example.com or 203-417-5704.