Monday, November 20, 2006

Who are you ignoring?

To promote the surprising benefits of encouraging employees to make more friends at work, last week I summarized an interview from with Tom Rath of The Gallup Organization, author of the new book, Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without.

There were so many good ideas in that article that I had to add one more.

In his book Rath reports on management's shocking failure to engage with its employees. Based on Gallup’s decades of interviews with workers around the globe, he says only 17% of employees report that their manager has made “an investment in their relationship” in the past three months.

That’s not just a shame but a scandal, given this day and age when so few employees seem to engage with their work. Rath says his research shows that “People who do say they have a good relationship or friendship with their boss are more engaged and satisfied with their jobs overall.”

But according to Rath, “When we talk to employees, they tell us that for the most part, their managers are actually ignoring them.” And that’s about the worst thing you can do, he says.

“I always thought it was terrible if your manager was just focusing on what you were doing wrong all the time. But it turns out from our studies that it’s even worse if your manager is not paying any attention. There is a huge chunk of managers out there who just aren’t thinking consciously about how they can build that relationship.”

One explanation for this finding, notes Rath, is that many larger organizations actually discourage employees from socializing with colleagues in a different pay grade. Some even have 1-800 lines to help employees snitch on disobedient workers.

Let’s just mark that as Exhibit 1,452 in the list of “Big Business blunders,” and note it as one more reason small businesses are usually smarter and more effective than big ones.

For the entire story, click here.
If you have to register, go for it. It's free and worthwhile.

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