You are giving an update, doing a presentation, or even just observing your associates in their work environment. Yawns, texting, and computer screens displaying non-work activities (unless you work for Facebook) have all infiltrated your work space.
How do you wake them up and regain their focus and attention?
It is not an easy task, and consequently, there is no easy answer. Among many things, the solution depends on the primary age group, their personalities, and your culture at work. However, here are some questions to start asking yourself about your employees.
1. The most important question of all is the most obvious: why are they unfocused?
– Do they have personal troubles going on in their life (i.e. a break-up, divorce, death in the family, money troubles, etc)? If you know the answer, this is a good start. They felt comfortable enough to share the problems going on in their life which likely means you have a decent working relationship.
– Are they under or over challenged in their current position?
– Is there a departmental or company shift that could be affecting productivity?
2. If you don’t know the answers to any of those questions, or simply think that your employee may just be *gasp* lazy, it’s time to have a sit down to see what is going on. Communication might not solve all problems, but it’s certainly a good start.
3. Once you have figured out the root cause of the low productivity, utilize a little something called empathy. Isn’t it true that we once were a lowly employee and probably went through a break-up at work, felt under-appreciated, or bitter about a company change? Talk to your employee and share your experience (if you never went through what they are going through, at least try to understand). And then set up a plan together on how they are going to regain focus- key emphasis on together. It won’t work if you just tell them what to do without their input.
As stated before, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing unfocused employees. But starting with individual solutions will most likely yield a better result than trying the same thing for your entire team.
This post is by Lauren Kleinman.