No place for employee disengagement in the future of work


Many managers and organizations complain about their disconnect with their employees who are so uninvolved with their work that productivity and efficiency are negatively impacted.

When there is no interest in either the work or the workplace this is the inevitable result – “disengagement” which refers to a lack of enthusiasm and commitment to work or a workplace. As companies grow and progress it becomes important for them to tackle this problem head-on so that there is no major obstacle in their pathway to success.

The primary reason for this detached attitude to work on the part of employees is the attitude and work culture that employers and managers bring to their workplace. Organizations are by and large behemoths that are slow to change – they are still lumbering on with outdated management and work techniques.

Radical changes at a very rapid rate

All around the globe, the workplace, the workers and the way of working are going through radical changes at a very rapid rate. Technology is advancing, work practices, attitudes, values and strategies are developing in previously unheard of ways – the nature of the workforce is changing to freelancers and remote workers who execute tasks from the comfort of their homes. In contrast, organizations are still stuck in the past.

Even today, when we are already in the future of work, many managers and employers are prone to old traditional ways of managing their workers – they are bureaucratic, controlling, dominating and didactic. Initiative, creativity, innovativeness, collaboration, communication within and across functions and levels are not appreciated and work slowly becomes a dreaded drudgery. This, in spite of the fact that employees spend more time at work and in commuting than they do in their personal lives.

Lack of involvement in key decisions

It is this lack of freedom, lack of involvement in key decisions – even those that directly affect them and their work – lack of empathy and concern on the part of the employers that gives rise to employee disengagement. If they do not feel part of the organization and its activities, if they are not allowed to take part in decision making, if their attempts to contribute to the organization are treated with disdain and then rejected, if there is no understanding of their personal problems and issues, then they are unlikely to want to give their best to the organization.

This type of situation cannot and will not be functional in the future of work. Organizations must look to remedying this state of affairs. They need to alter their attitude, their strategy, their policies and their approach to management and leadership if they are to overcome this disenchantment that encompasses their employees.

Creating work teams with no leaders

Some steps they can consider are creating work teams with no leaders where each member has his predefined role and responsibility, concentrating on outcome or result rather than on how many hours employees clock in, encouraging initiative and creativity and holding them accountable for results, increasing collaboration and communication within and outside the organization, inculcating an open-door policy, giving employees the license to decide on work techniques that fit in with the company culture, re-designing HR and other policies that are geared towards employee benefit and care,

When companies create an environment of trust, collaboration, support, communication, appreciation and treat their workforce with respect, dignity, empathy and fairness, they will flourish in the future of work by attracting and retaining talent and by building great leaders.