HR departments know that it doesn’t take a lot for a situation to escalate or turn sour. Negativity in the workplace can spread like wildfire, leaving team leaders in a panic.
What starts as one termination or workplace disagreement can quite quickly spiral into widespread employee disengagement– or worse, conflict.
People will inevitably talk (and probably gossip!) about what goes on in the office, sharing their perceptions about various issues in the workplace.
In an ideal company, perhaps this conversation wouldn’t exist. But pleasing everyone is no easy feat.
This is why employee-centric businesses will often refer to the workforce as a living organism. This organism can flourish…or it can suffer – and in the case of the latter, the symptoms will be evident.
Want to turn your team around? Here are three clear steps to pick your team back up and get them thriving again.
1. Ask around and dig deep.
Before you scrutinise your current strategy and agonise over your own personal performance, talk to your team.
Your employees may not be speaking to you about what’s wrong, but they will most likely be discussing this amongst each other.
The more you make yourself approachable and available, the less likely there will be communication breakdowns or distance between you and your staff.
What do your employees have to say?
Talk to the heads, managers or supervisors of relevant (if not all) departments. It’s important to get the big picture and compare and contrast management styles across teams to ensure happiness and functionality in your company.
Investigate where, when and how things have gone wrong. This prevents you from jumping to conclusions or unfairly pointing the finger.
The root of the problem could be one or a combination of a great number of things. To give you an idea, here are just some of the potential causes of employee disengagement:
- Insufficient job and work design
- Tedious training (technology, HR onboarding)
- Unaccommodating structure and conditions
- Lack of communication and appreciation (feedback)
- Little transparency about direction and goals
- Minimal collaboration and teamwork
- Inadept management
- Poor company culture
2. Revisit your mission and your methods.
Zoom right in on pain points and be open to suggestions and proposals to address them.
Draw from what information your team members have offered you and apply your leadership skills and a defined mission in order to action this.
This is where pragmatism can meet innovation, and truly revolutionise your business without starting from scratch.
There is no point holding onto traditional methods or continuing with “business as usual” simply for the sake of it.
In fact, you may find that the reasoning of “this is how we’ve always done things” will only serve to hold you back.
3. Experiment and implement.
A meltdown doesn’t involve only one employee.
It’s a sure-fire sign that something isn’t working across your entire team; whether it be management, work conditions, morale, or anything in between.
As such, it will require your entire team to restore peace and harmony in your company.
Re-evaluating the organisation of your team and giving others the chance to choose their responsibilities is one way to break old (and unwanted) habits. It’s easy as a leader to instruct, delegate, and essentially just take over – but when only one person is calling the shots and offering ideas, creativity and innovation can only come from one brain.
With the right approach and amount of agility, you can not only avert the crisis, but actually use it to your advantage. It may just be time to get creative.