Monday, December 19, 2011

Monitoring Survival Mode

The news about jobs continues to be mixed which has led to increased uncertainty once again this holiday season. The uncertainty of jobs has some positive effects at times as workers go out of their way to distinguish themselves and be more productive to avoid the axe, but this type of pressure is not something you want employees to constantly have hovering over their heads. One of the worst effect of this uncertainty is "survival mode". Forbes via Yahoo! (H/T Wendy) tells us 5 signs that will allow you to tell your employees are in "survival mode".

The article is definitely a good read but the five signs are that relationship building among peers is fading, meetings are frequently rescheduled or cancelled, people don't trust one another, turnover is high and employee morale is low, and, finally, self-promotion is out of control. This creates a workplace environment that is not only unproductive but one that people don't want to work in. Then, instead of "survival mode", employees go into "apathy mode", or, even worse, "please-lay-me-off mode". Instead of trying to stand out from the crowd, those people act like the lead character in "Office Space" and just try to get themselves removed from the situation.

The lesson is that if there is uncertainty or discontent in the workplace, that you need to nip it in the bud. Find ways to make the office environment less contentious and more inviting to people working together and making the most of their situation. You can't always assure employees that everything is okay without lying, but you can always try to help make them move away from survival mode.

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