When the Thrill is Gone, So Are They

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By Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans

Long considered a frivolous complaint, workplace boredom is a serious issue threatening morale, productivity, and retention. Yet plenty of actions, short of miracles, are within the control of every manager who is willing to work in concert with energetic and creative employees who are open to them.
For starters, here are eight:

1) Establish widespread participation. Employees are empowered and motivated when they take part in decisions that impact their work, including those related to budgeting, hiring, and organizing their schedules.
2) Nurture creativity. Creativity dwindles when it’s not used. If employees are rarely asked to think for themselves, they lose the ability to contribute their best ideas. Managers can help by asking for and rewarding creative ideas, giving employee the freedom and resources to create, and challenging employees with new assignments.
3) Rotate assignments. A formal change to new responsibilities can help an employee feel valued and challenged, and acquire new skills that add depth to the workforce.
4) Build in feedback. Employees want to know about their performance and be their own quality-control agents. Managers should go beyond annual reviews, plus find ways to develop peer-review and client-review opportunities.
5) Set goals. Employees should set enrichment goals that will increase their opportunities for challenge and growth. Managers can help by inquiring about these goals each year, discussing them with individual employees and teams, and setting aside time for regular goal-setting sessions.
6) Put employees in touch with clients. Direct client contact can increase employees’ interest and commitment. Remember, too, that clients can be inside or outside the organization.
7) Combine tasks. The auto industry discovered long ago that an employee who does a single, small repetitive task is not as challenged and motivated as an employee involved in a related set of tasks. Managers must think about those employees who would benefit most from a combination of tasks.
8) Form teams. Self-directed work groups can make a lot of their own decisions, plus redistribute work in ways that increase variety and learning, and enhance the possibility of seeing tasks to completion.

Beverly Kaye is the Founder of Career Systems International. Sharon Jordan-Evans is the President of the Jordan Evans Group. They are authors of several best selling books, including, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay; Love It, Don’t Leave It: 26 Ways to Get What You Want at Work; and Hello Stay Interviews, Goodbye Talent Loss: A Manager’s Playbook.

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