Why Employees Don’t Do What They Are Supposed To – Part 2: What We Can Do About It

Last week, I wrote about a book by Ferdinand Fournies, who summarized nearly 25,000 interviews with managers over nearly 20 years. We listed the top 17 reasons from his book, Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To and What You Can Do About It. You can read the list in our previous blog entry.

We hear the complaint in many of the places we visit. “If only they would do the job right/do what they are told/use their heads.” As with any problem, what we see first are likely to be the symptoms, not the real causes of the problem. Trying to deal with symptoms is rarely, if ever, effective in solving the problems that cause them.

Reacting to symptoms is often counterproductive, as it leads to finger pointing. Employees point blame at managers, managers at employees, and both at customers or the competition. All this finger pointing does nothing to make things better.

Fournies believes the root causes of the reasons employees don’t do what is asked and the responsibility for solutions lies with both individual employees and managers. He contends managers can deal with the roadblocks in his list by:

  1. Getting agreement that a problem exists
  2. Mutually discussing alternative solutions
  3. Mutually agreeing on action to be taken to solve the problem
  4. Following-up to ensure that agreed-upon action has been taken
  5. Reinforcing any achievement

At CALMC, we could not agree more with his conclusions. They match the steps of employee engagement and problem-solving we have often discussed in this blog and with our clients.

Together, employees and managers can solve almost any workplace problem. They can jointly make changes in the work system that can make a lasing difference.

Is that how things work in your organization? Is everyone working together to achieve your mission and vision? Does everyone understand the importance of their role in the work system? Getting to that point does not happen by accident. It takes positive efforts from everyone involved, employees and managers. If you need help starting or maintaining that process, give us a call.


About CALMC Blog

Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to involving employers and employees to preserve jobs, resolve workplace issues, and promote labor-management cooperation. Visit our website at http://calmc.org
This entry was posted in Employee Involvement, Labor-Management Cooperation, Problem Solving and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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