11 Pathways to Employee Disengagement

How Not to Conduct an Employee Engagement Initiative (satire).

Ms Julie Carter, a student at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX, asked an excellent question:

One question I have is about how a company would go about implementing an employee engagement program.  Are there any specific guidelines or initiatives?

Before I offer the positive suggestions in a later post,  I would like to examine how not to implement a program.

The top 11 ways to ensure employee disengagement:

  1. Use Fear. Only engage in employee engagement because you are fearful of falling behind the competition. Tell employees to get busy working or they will lose their jobs.
  2. Use payday. Tell employees to engage because that is what they are paid to do.
  3. Employee engagement should belong to only 1 department. Task employee engagement to HR or Communications. No need to spread this kind of stuff around.
  4. Survey. Reduce your entire initiative to a survey. Get some numbers, keep them to yourself, and survey again two years later to see if some accidental employee engagement occurred.
  5. Never let an employee ask a survey question. Employees don’t know enough to determine what a good survey question would be so ensure you blow your entire employee engagement budget on a high priced consulting company that will ask employees if they have a friend.
  6. Ignore employee engagement. Employee engagement is just a longer way of saying motivation so forget complexity, get simple, and use carrots and sticks.
  7. Focus on employee entertainment. Don’t worry about financial viability of the organization and employee contribution to results. Give the employees the day off to make an upbeat dance/musical you tube video.
  8. Us versus Them. Keep the separation between employees and leaders/managers. Never let leaders or managers realize they are employees and if employee engagement numbers are low always refer to employees as “those people.”
  9. Eliminate middle management. What do those people do anyway. Eliminate them as a barriers between leadership directives and employee engagement. It will be cheaper in the long run to give all front line employees Blackberries than to have someone who they can run and complain to. Blackberry communication will literally help all leaders “screen” their calls.
  10. Leave flex time for next time. Ensure all employees are overworked because an idle mind may lead to disengagement and if they are so busy they will just have to be engaged…no need for flex time.
  11. That’s your job. Next time employees ask questions about the organization or why they are doing a certain task a certain way keep your answer focused and simple: “because that’s your job.”

In Part 2, the follow up to this article, I will answer Julie’s question with a genuine response.

Your turn. If  you have some brilliant ways or even mediocre methods to ensure employee disengagement offer them in the comments of this post.

Until next time, I’m out of here.

7 thoughts on “11 Pathways to Employee Disengagement”

  1. Make sure employees know that the longer they hang around, the less valuable they are because outside experience is much more valuable than inside experience.

    Expand #5. Use consultants whenever possible.

    Break down tasks as simply as possible to take the guesswork out of work, and also eliminate any need to think.

    Never hire anyone over 40, even for senior management.

    Use the Darwinian chain of command: let leaders from different departments give conflicting orders to employees, and whichever leader beats his or her chest the loudest about “my way” gets to decide how things are run.

    Three words: double secret probation

  2. Love the satire, David. My personal satirical favorite:

    Accentuate the positive — Remind employees they’re lucky to just HAVE a job in this economy and KEEPING that job is reason enough to stay engaged.

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