How many times have you seen an employee (yours or at another establishment) looking bored? Have you seen them looking at their phones, staring off into space or doing things they shouldn’t be doing?
This couldn’t be YOUR fault, could it? Of course not. It’s the kids these days. They don’t want to work, they just want to play on their phones.
And when we view them as half-brain dead zombies, that’s how we treat them. And that’s how we train them.
When giving instructions to your employees, how many of you have ever said, “all you have to do is…”?
If this has been your training strategy, you might want to think about what you are really asking them to do. Whether you realize it or not, what you’re saying to them is that they don’t have to think, they don’t have to act, and there’s no brainpower required for this activity.
Then what happens when the one activity they ARE supposed to do isn’t required?
They get bored. People, by our nature, need challenges and for our minds to be active. So, we’ll find ways to KEEP our minds active if the task in front of us isn’t fulfilling that need. What might this look like for your employees? Yep. Texting.
A few years ago I heard T. Scott Gross talking about how we have idiot-proofed so many of our jobs. Rather than take the time to find the right people and prepare them for the role, we dumb down the responsibilities so any Joe Schmoe could do it. But as T. Scott says, the only person willing to do an idiot-proof job is an idiot. Do you see the cycle we’ve created?
Are your jobs “idiot-proof”? If so, I challenge you to put some challenge back in those roles. Let your employees use their brains and their talents FOR you, not in spite of you.
Will this take extra time, because you now have to work with your employees to help develop the right skills and judgements? Yes. But wouldn’t you rather spend your time doing that than hiring and firing and hiring and firing a bunch of idiots?
That’s what I thought.
Thanks for reading!
About the author: It took Matt about 45 minutes to write this post. When asked, he tells people it took him 25 years to write his first book, The Myth of Employee Burnout, because it includes experiences and insights from his entire career to this point. He’s really hoping the second book doesn’t take nearly that long!