Factors Influencing Employee Passion…Or…There Really Are Zombies Among Us!

Zombies really exist you know.  Just walk among your corridors and cubicles and you will see some.  Their lifelessness and stilted guttural emanations bring a halt to the energy and passion that underlies forward movement.  What’s worse is that they impart a kind of virus that creates other zombies.  Pretty soon there is an epidemic called “going through the motions and flying under the radar.”  Want to find out a bit about the virus that’s contributing to the demise of passion and engagement?  Rate your organization on the following ten items.

1 = Never   2 = Sometimes   3 = Often   4 = Always

___1.  We Have Meaningful Work—I perceive the organization’s larger purpose through our products or services produced.  I consider my work to be worthwhile, and I am proud of my individual actions and contributions that help the organization serve our customer.

­­­­­___ 2.  We Collaborate With Each Other—I perceive there to be an environment and a culture that enhances collaboration, cooperation, and encouragement between all organizational members.

___3.  Our Workplace is Fair—In this environment pay, benefits, resources and workload are fair and balanced and equitable, people treat each other with respect, and leaders act in an ethical manner.

___4.  I Have Autonomy to Make Decisions—I and others  have the tools, training, support, and authority to make decisions.

___5.  I Receive Regular (weekly) Recognition—I am (we are) are praised, recognized, and appreciated by our colleagues and our leaders for our accomplishments, where we receive monetary compensation for those accomplishments, and where we are contributing to positive relationships with others.

___6.  There Are Identified Opportunities for Growth—In this environment,  people have opportunities to learn, grow professionally, and develop skills that lead to advancement and career growth.

___7.  I Feel Connected With Our Leaders—I (we) trust our leader(s) and the leader(s) make an effort to form an interpersonal connection with us.

___8.  I Feel Connected With My Colleagues— I trust my colleagues and weall make an effort to form an interpersonal connection with each other.

___9.  It is Safe to Disagree—I have been able to safely disagree with my colleagues as well as the leaders.  Disagreements do not damage our relationships and I trust that if I have something to say that is outside the norm, people will listen without judgment.

___10.  We Have Fun—There is a light-hearted, glass-half-full kind of atmosphere here.  Regardless of outside forces, we know that we can rely on each other and make light of the crazy world we live in.

32-40…You are in the midst of engaged and passionate colleagues and leaders.  Differences in titles do not result in unwieldy power structures.  There is an atmosphere of listening and caring about people as individuals.  Trust is given, not just earned.  There is an atmosphere of teaching and coaching, not evaluation.  People voluntarily ask for feedback because the feedback is always given to help someone get better (and is perceived as such by almost everyone).

23-31… There is probably a good deal of variance among employees in levels of passion and engagement.  Zombies are present in a good portion of the population and exist alongside engaged and passionate people.  Levels of frustration reach a peak whenever outside forces create additional stress.  But there is always an undercurrent of dissatisfaction that goes largely unaddressed except via lip-service.  You might hear employees say: “things in my department are great!  I like what I do.  It’s management that is the biggest problem” or “if it weren’t for the employees, this would be a great place to work.”

22 and below….The virus is rampant and trust is at a minimum.  Silos exist as a means of self-preservation and sanity due to back stabbing or simply being ignored.  Serious consideration must be given to the causes.  Management is usually perceived to say one thing but do another.  Information tends to flow one way.  There is a general belief that those at the entry levels of the organization cannot handle information.  The culture is evidenced by a lack of appreciation and a lack of information.  People go out of their way to avoid getting noticed.  Perhaps most importantly, there is a chasm between what management says they do and what the employees say management does.

If you fell between 32-40 congratulations. You represent the benchmark that all companies strive for, and the fact that you took this test is a sign that you don’t take improvement and growth for granted. Keep up the good work!! If you fell between 23-31 all is not lost. You have individuals in your organization that can help rally the troops and lead the way toward positive employee engagement. Have open and honest discussions with them and solicit their feedback on why engagement is low among some.  Also, keep in mind that management assessments like the SOI or the EQ-i coupled with individual and team coaching can help push those numbers up. And finally, all is not lost if you fell below 22.  Enlisting the help of a consultant is highly recommended.