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管理

如何激活僵尸员工

Shelley DuBois 2011年10月11日

如今,员工满意度处于历史最低点。越来越多的员工极端冷漠消沉,甚至连离职都兴趣索然。怎么才能让心灰意冷的员工重拾工作热情?

    如今的公司可能正背负着沉重的负担,不过这副担子或许并不是你想的那种。

    经理们常常担心,一只脚已经迈出公司大门的员工在目前的岗位上会失去努力工作的动力。这确实是个问题。相比以往,现在越来越多的人想要离职。美世咨询公司(Mercer)最近的调查显示,2005年至2010年间,曾认真考虑过离职的人从23%猛增到了32%。

    “人力资源部门忧心忡忡,” 美世咨询公司人力资源顾问戴夫•范德沃特说。“竞争对手已经开始招人,因此很难防止员工离职,而且流失的恰恰又是最出色、最为训练有素的员工。”

    然而,对健康的企业文化来说,离职员工所造成的威胁其实比不上那些继续留守但却灰心丧气的员工,而且后者的队伍正在日益壮大。

    美世咨询公司的调查中,21%的人表示,他们并不在乎是走还是留。更糟的是,这部分员工对公司的抱怨明显多于决定留下和干脆打算离职的员工。

    范德沃特指出,这21%的人出于某种原因而选择留任。他说,对公司无所助益的员工通常分为两类:一类是办公室宠儿,他们讨人喜欢,但工作表现糟糕。这类人在经济衰退期间大多都被炒了鱿鱼。而第二类人却留了下来。他们拥有必备的技能,对公司颇有价值。但他们要么毫无贡献,要么对其他人造成负面影响。而主要是因为他们心存芥蒂。

    翰威特咨询公司(Aon Hewitt)高级副总裁肯•欧勒说:“你会发现,有些才干极为出众的人却做出了些破坏性的行为,但公司却会容忍他们,就因为他们才华横溢。”

    这些人大部分都有心烦不安的理由。很多人目睹同事被减薪甚至失业。另外一些人则认为公司管理团队在困难时期没有采取最佳的应对措施。然而,由于经济依然充满不确定性,员工觉得前途渺茫,于是他们留了下来,但却滋生了负面情绪。

    “我的同事将这类人称为病毒,”范德沃特说,“他们无疑会带来破坏。雇主必须设法帮助这些人离职,或者让他们更有动力。”

    如何才能做到这一点呢?这个问题很棘手。首先,必须清除那些打算离职或者对公司造成负面影响的人。博斯管理咨询公司(Booz & Company)高级合伙人乔恩•卡曾巴赫说,这部分工作可能比想象的要简单。要想找出这些人,必须借助他们的“指挥棒”,也就是公司里的一呼百应的人物。这些人通常是非正式的领导者,未必是公司高层。

    卡曾巴赫说:“同事们愿意为这些人赴汤蹈火。”管理层了解员工的不满,首先首先应该跟这些人谈。但如果这些人本身就是心存芥蒂的人,那么最好能赢得他们的支持。

    要想让心灰意冷的员工重燃激情,首先应确保让他们有机会与上司或管理人员进行富有成效的一对一谈话。必须弄明白他们缺乏积极性的原因。如果他们理由很充分,公司可以作出小范围的调整,帮助他们找回工作热情。

    弗吉尼亚大学达登商学院(the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business)工商管理学教授克里斯汀•贝法尔说,即使是表面看起来消极的行为也能化害为利。贝法尔称,她曾与某个团队合作,团队成员向她抱怨说,团队中有个员工经验丰富,但对公司心怀不满,他的负面情绪已经传染给了团队中的其他成员,但他们离不开他。

    贝法尔问他们,团队成员认为这位员工最擅长做什么。他们回答说,他很会批评人。于是,他们利用他的这个才能,让他负责检查所有对外工作的错误,使他那双挑剔的眼睛有了用武之地。这种安排取收到了很好的成效。“我喜欢这个故事,”贝法尔说,“这位员工希望好好工作,但所处的环境却使他无心工作。”经验丰富但心怀不满的人,比如本案例中的这个人,就是主要的改造目标。

    巴克公司(Buck)顾问斯蒂芬•可可说,让员工保持积极性的最好方法当然是从招聘程序开始时避免出现这种问题。建立正式的员工适应性培训计划;掌握员工在公司里的最新情况,与他们保持同步成长;创造机会让他们可以定期提供反馈;确保管理者与员工关系稳固。

    然而,陷入困境或正在经历变革的公司可能不得不直接面对员工积极性问题。卡曾巴赫说,在这种情况下,必须鼓励某些员工作出特定的改变,而不是彻底改变整个公司文化。他说:“这时候需要的是步枪点射,而不是散弹扫射。”

    译者: 千牛絮

    Your company is probably carrying dead weight, though it might not be where you think.

    Managers often harbor the fear that employees with one foot out the door will lose motivation to work hard at their current jobs, and that's a real problem: more and more people want to leave their jobs today than in years past. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of people who said they were seriously considering leaving their job jumped from 23% to 32%, according to new research from consulting firm Mercer.

    "HR departments are very concerned," says Dave Van De Voort, a human resources consultant at Mercer. "As their competitors start to hire, it's going to be very tough to keep people from leaving, and it will be the best people with the best training that will go."

    But employees on the way out aren't actually as big of a threat to a healthy corporate culture as the growing ranks of disillusioned and frustrated workers who simply stay put.

    Twenty-one percent of the people surveyed in the Mercer study said that they were apathetic about whether they stayed or left. But what's worse is that this part of the employee population had significantly more negative things to say about their companies than both people who were staying and people who planned to leave.

    The people within this 21% group are lingering at their jobs for a reason, says Van De Voort, who says that unproductive employees generally fall in one of two categories. The first includes people who are office favorites; they're likeable, but bad at their jobs. Most of those were culled during job cuts throughout the recession. The second type, however, is still around. These are people with a necessary skill. They're valuable, but they're either unproductive or negative influences on others, largely because of the chips on their shoulders.

    "You see very highly talented people that have really destructive behaviors, and the organization will tolerate them because they are so talented," says Ken Oehler, a senior vice president at consulting firm Aon Hewitt.

    A lot of these people have reasons to be upset. Many have seen their colleagues take pay cuts or lose their jobs. Others feel like their company's management team hasn't chosen the best course to adapt to tough times. Yet, because the economy is still uncertain, employees feel trapped, so they stay, and their negative attitudes fester.

    "One of my folks refers to them as viruses," Van De Voort says. "They're truly causing harm, and employers need to have a plan for either helping these people leave or getting them to be more engaged."

    The question is how, and that can be tricky. First, you have to root out the people who are checking out or otherwise negatively affecting the organization. That part is easier than you may think, says Jon Katzenbach, a senior partner at consulting firm Booz & Company. To find them, you have to use their foils - the key motivators in a company. These are often informal leaders who are not necessarily at the top of a company's hierarchy.

    "You're looking for someone whose colleagues would walk over hot coals for them," says Katzenbach. Those are the first people a manager should ask about dissatisfied employees. And if these key motivators are the disengaged ones themselves, they are the most important to win over.

    The first step towards winning back disengaged employees is to ensure that they have productive, one-on-one conversations with supervisors or management. You have to find out why people aren't motivated. If they've lost interest for a good reason, the company can often make small adjustments to bring them back on board.

    Even behavior that seems unworkable on the surface can be useful, says Kristin Behfar, a professor of business administration at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. Behfar says she once worked with a team of people that complained to her about one of the members, an experienced employee who had grown frustrated with the company. His negative attitude was poisoning the rest of the team, but they needed him.

    Behfar says she asked them what the team members thought this employee was good at, and they said he had a talent for dishing out criticism. So they put his skill to use. The group made him in charge of reviewing all outgoing work for errors, giving his critical eye a purpose, with great results. "I love that story," Behfar says. "He cared, but the circumstances he was in left him unengaged." Experienced people like the man in this example are pivotal dead-weight turnaround targets.

    Of course, the best way to keep your staff engaged is to stay on top of the issue from the hiring process on, says Stephen Coco, a consultant with Buck. Have a formal employee orientation program and keep up with staffers as they grow within the company. As they develop, create regular opportunities for them to give feedback, and make sure that managers have solid relationships with their employees.

    But a struggling or changing company may have to respond directly to an engagement problem. In that case, you want to encourage specific changes from certain people, says Katzenbach, not overhaul the entire culture. "This is a rifle game, not a shotgun game," he says.

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