Would You Recruit Your Team?
I was in a meeting earlier this week, talking about some of my frustrations of working in the NHS, which I did for five years. It re-connected me with some of the frustrations of working with people who might never have had to apply for their job and have never faced an interview to prove their value in the role that they’re in. That can have a toll on the productivity of the team and lead to frustrations for those who have been actively recruited to join a team for their skills, experience and values.
I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault particularly, just a legacy of big organisations where re-structuring has moved people around without a recruitment process. There is a huge value, I believe in people who don’t want to progress but are happy with their working terms and conditions, and want to do a good job. Those people can be the backbone of an organisation and are often seen as the most reliable and safest pairs of hands. But what about those people that aren’t particularly thrilled to be there, who don’t contribute anything very much but are quite happy to take home their salary every month? It can be very difficult to move someone like that on and that can have a very negative impact on you, your team and the wider organisation. It can feel like you’re all wading in treacle – not good.
So, if you were given the chance and it was your money, would you employ everyone in your team?
I think I know the answer to that and have some suggestions as to how you might be able to re-engage people who might be snoozing in their roles, for whatever reason. A firing squad?! Maybe that’s option Z! People in large organisations can feel disengaged with day to day business sometimes, particularly if they are part of back office functions which don’t have a customer facing aspect to them. They can hear news of strategic changes but experience tells them that very little will change for them personally and so they carry on with what they’re doing and let the change carry on around them, without engaging with it. “If it affects me”, they might think “someone will tell me”. Other than that they don’t need to change anything. So they won’t. And that could be affecting the productivity of your team right now.
I accept that there are people who cannot be brought round and changed, and maybe that’s where we need a cartoon image of option Z at least! But I think most people will respond if you take the time to engage them and understand where they’re at. I’ve seen it work brilliantly in the NHS, carried out by a fab colleague of mine and the change in the individual was fantastic. She felt happier and more engaged, and the team leader and wider organisation benefitted from her being more effective and productive. Win win, win win, win win win all about the place!
So, if you’d like to engage a dis-connected, less effective member of staff, give some of these a try:
- Talk to them to ask where they’re at. Something like “Are you enjoying what you’re doing? Does it challenge you? Are there other things you’re interested in learning, either with this team or another one?”. Shadowing other teams, for a day at a time can be a good way to nudge someone into paying more attention to what’s going on, thinking more about how they’re perceived by others and engaging with a wider range of colleagues.
- Ask them to be the person that talks to people who come to shadow your team. It might make them up their game if they’re thinking that other people are paying attention to how they come across. If you start with someone senior too, that can give that a really good nudge!
- Ask them to see if there are online e-learning possibilities that the team can access. You can research those online; some have a cost and some are free but asking someone to put together a proposal might fuel their attention for the wider team and what it needs to do to be effective in the next 12 months.
- Ask them to think about planning a joint team meeting, with a team that you personally have a good relationship with. Then if it all goes a bit Pete Tong, they’ll be forgiving! Ask your member of staff to ask the teams what sorts of topics they might be interested in talking about and to research things like venues, food options and accessibility. Again, it can help them to raise their head and think about other people which can help them to re-engage.
- Talk to them about accessing mentor support from someone away from the team. It isn’t just highly performing staff that need mentor support. I think anyone can benefit from having a conversation with someone independent, who knows the individual’s role well enough to offer relevant advice, especially if that individual is feeling stuck in their current role. It also shows that you care about their wellbeing and development so they feel they have a value in the team.
If you wouldn’t employ everyone in your team, that reflects on you too
Sometimes it can be easy to overlook the ‘safe pair of hands’ members of your team. They might not be going anywhere but they still need new challenges and should be offered development opportunities. That gives an equality of opportunity to everyone and if they feel that’s not always been the case, that might be why they’ve become dis-engaged. It does take time and work to build individual and team effectiveness, and that can feel frustrating when you’re overloaded with other aspects of work but an effective and productive team boosts your profile too. So if you consider your team development for no other reason than that, it’s definitely worth a shot. But not in the option Z type way! Remember the power of a cartoon image if someone’s behaviour is frustrating you. I used to rip someone’s arm off and hit her over the head with it, in a cartoon way of course! Sorry if I’m over sharing there
Take good care please and have a great day.
Best wishes, Karen