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Would You Fire your Boss? - November 03,2007
“Nearly one quarter of U.S. employees would sack their managers if given the chance, according to the latest Gallup Management Journal survey. This is especially true of actively disengaged workers, 51% of whom would send their bosses packing. Engaged employees, however, are far more charitable to their supervisors.” – Gallup Management Journal

Would you – if you could, fire your boss? It is the everlasting fantasy of every employee who thinks he has a ‘bad’ boss. You all know the one I mean: the ultimate moron, Satan’s minion or the sadistic slacker who pressures you for work that s/he would never ever demand of a galley slave.
Well, the Gallup Management Journal (GMJ) recently surveyed U.S. employees to find out if workers would fire their boss -- and what effect workplace engagement might have on their willingness to give their boss the pink slip. Gallup researchers studied employee responses to see which factors differed most strongly among engaged employees (26% of respondents) and those who were not engaged (56%) or actively disengaged (18%).

I found this definition of employee engagement: "A heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work". And apparently employee engagement is a very big deal. There is clear and mounting evidence that high levels of employee engagement keenly correlates to individual, group and corporate performance in areas such as retention, turnover, productivity, customer service and loyalty.

So, the fully engaged employees are your ever-cheerful types who work with a passion and feel a profound connection with the company. “They drive innovation and move the company forward,” GMJ says. Here in Jamaica, they wear their shirts with the company logo, with great zeal, as if fulfilling a sacred mission and woe betide you if within ear-shot you bring up any ‘anti-company’ sentiment.
Then there are the employees who are ‘not-engaged’ and who are essentially ‘checked-out’. “They are sleep walking though their work day, putting time but not energy or passion into their work”. These are the ones who always seem to be reading the morning news paper (at morning, noon or evening time); their lunch ’hour’ seem to be a tad longer than the prescribed sixty minutes and they always have time (sometime hours) to spare to gripe about the complexity involved in choosing a ‘Rising Star’.
The third group of employees are those of us who would pink slip the boss. They are those employees who are actively disengaged and who aren’t just unhappy at work, “They are busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day these employees undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish.” And we know them only too well, don’t we? You can count on Mr. Dis-engaged to make sure that the accounts for this quarter will be late. Depend on Miss-Disengaged to make sure that your best client will reduce his business to your company because she couldn’t care less if he has to have that order filled today. “Me on me break”, is her self-righteous mantra.
Disengaged associates
The results of the GMJ poll show that 24% of employees in the United States would fire their boss if given the chance. “Not surprisingly, engaged employees aren't the ones wanting to bid their manager farewell. Just 6% of engaged workers say they would fire their boss if they had the chance, while 51% of actively disengaged associates would get rid of their leader if they could. This finding is consistent with earlier GMJ research, which indicates that engaged employees consider their relationship with their manager to be crucial to their success.”
For our sins, a significant aspect of an internal communicator’s job is ensuring workplace engagement. The communicator’s tool-kit comes equipped with a battery of devices designed to touch the pulse of employee engagement and fixing what does not work.

Employee attitude surveys can be an effective means of discovering the way the organization's communications are viewed by employees and the attitude of employees towards the organization itself as well. These surveys are useful if conducted at regular intervals; perhaps annually.

Most employees expect communications to provide them with information on:
 What is going to happen (not what has already happened) especially since the news in many employee publications is often stale because of low frequency;
 Events, with information on what is happening;
 The impact that company changes developments will have upon them personally
 Decisions: Information should come from those responsible rather than being allowed to filter down through the grapevine.
 Research shows that employees are most interested in their own operating unit, and that loyalty is often to the team rather than to the wider organization.
 Face-to face meetings with the manager is the preferred method of communication by employees.
So, how is engaged are your employees? Do they want to fire the boss?


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