Here, I am not exactly referring to the demotivated, grumpy or turned-off employees – I know they do not have any personal goals in their career and are quite casual about their lives. Rather, I am talking about employees who are aligned with their goals and objectives and are enthusiastic about making a ‘positive’ difference in their work assignment – but they are held back by jobs that do not suit them or work atmosphere that get in their way. In terms of performance, they are not as productive as they are capable of because their superiors are puzzled or do not know how to remove work-space frustration. Mark Royal and Tom Agnew, from the Hay group, have done sufficient research to understand work-space frustration and have presented their study in their recent book titled ‘The Enemy of engagement’.
Performance Management is not a new term or ‘process’ any longer in the Indian corporate sector. Employee engagement has not been focused on the critical areas because no one is guiding them to do so. Managers should tell the pressured employees which tasks are the most critical that have greatest impact on their personal and organizational performance or output. The authors of the book stress upon guiding the employees and not let them to struggle on their own to find out themselves. This way – time as well as resources are put to best use. I find that in many companies in India, it is a political issue – whether to help or not? There are divisive groups and only those who have illustrated their loyalty to any specific group are helped, guided to their career goals. This practice has to stop and the work processes be made transparent so that every deserving individual is gauged on his or her merit, interest and potential. Performance management systems remove work-space frustration to a great extent.
By Employee empowerment and completely stepping out of the way (unless not called for) can lead to very motivating work situations. But, please clarify the scope and set boundaries to the employees so that they are not fearful of over-stepping. Fear – when absent – employees build better or more self-confidence and stretch their abilities as well as their work timings to reach their goals faster with greater efficiency. Cross- training your employees or implementing job rotations often – can generate more interest among your employees to excel in the work assigned to them. On-going training is becoming a necessity to meet fast-paced dynamic work conditions in a global market scene. Remember that the skills and knowledge that made your employees successful in the past might not be enough today to succeed in these changing market conditions. Ask yourself whether you yourself are completely ready to meet the future. Work-space frustration is also due to lack of required skills or inability of your employees. Despite being motivated they may not know how to get things done in their job.
Increasingly in recession-hit economy, organizations are demanding that their employees ‘do more with less’, to raise the bar on goals and expectations while spending less money. This can be frustrating to even well performing employees – but, when management widens its perspective and enables their employees much better – they manage to unleash the full potential of the employees. Needless to say, what you do not know hurts you. In this context, superiors have stretch out further to understand the problems of those who report to them. In a nut-shell, today’s managers have to be organizational change agents. Such change agents can break down organizational obstacles to build better work atmosphere leading to better trust, more commitment, renewed or re-inforced ability to defeat the very cause of work-space frustration. And, it is not that most management body do not know the causes of work-space frustration but it is possible that they are not aware of its implications on their employee performance or on its nett profitability and on their precious market share.