If you search for terms like employee engagement or how to have more productive employees, or problems with performance reviews the results are millions and millions, if not hundreds of millions. Why is that? Are we not all humans with the same basic needs? Everyone wants to be treated with respect and most want to do a good job. How do we not know what it takes to engage each other or how we can have productive employees? Can’t we just look at ourselves and know what it takes to be more productive?

What I found when I searched those terms are some very good articles. One article was from Forbes – the business management magazine and it had some very good advice. It said to have productive employees managers and supervisors need to let employees do their job and be more of a facilitator. That is something we have advocated on these blogs many times.

It also suggests to define expectations so employees have a clear understanding. Too many times what we think we know isn’t always so as the old adage goes.

Unfortunately in the real-life work world, if things aren’t done the “right” way some supervisors get upset and their remarks can be insulting and offensive to employees. This destroys the ability of trust or support to occur which cuts off a positive, beneficial employer-employee relationship and hurts productivity and employee engagement.

Some supervisors live by the old style, management by intimidation, because they think it gets results or they have a poor impression of those they supervise. Today, the term management by intimidation has been coined “workplace bullying” and it is not all that uncommon.

A search on workplace bullying yields a number of results since the problem has been increasing. There is even a website that focuses on workplace bullying One of the founders of the website, a mental health professional, had a bad workplace experience so she along with some colleagues looked into this problem and found it was more common than uncommon. The Institute on Workplace Bullying has issued a number of surveys to give data about this world-wide issue. The reasons this problem exists in the workplace, according to the 2014 survey, is it’s encouraged, perpetrators are defended or there is denial it is occurring.
This problem prevents workers from being productive whether they are the victim or work with someone who has. It lowers the self-esteem of workers and employee engagement is difficult to achieve. According to this website,, 86% of employees have been affected. Workplace bullying is expensive. It causes more absenteeism and the overall cost is more the $300 billion. This also includes the lost productivity, turnover that occurs and insurance that must be used because of the stress and illness that is caused.

In the past two weeks, I have personally heard of more than one incident of workplace bullying. This was done by supervisors and they are ongoing. It isn’t just one time. It’s all the time. Unfortunately, it is the management style of choice. The organizations did nothing to stop it. It has become part of their culture and since workplace bullying is so costly, will these workplaces survive? Only time will tell. Are they able to have more employee engagement? Are the employees as productive as they could be? Probably Not. The revenue of these organizations could increase if the culture was more supportive of the employees or if employees felt valued.

So the question I have is, if you want more productive employees or if you want employee engagement to occur at your workplace do you know the type of work environment you are creating? Are you creating an environment where people are valued or are they intimidated or threatened? Are different ideas and thoughts encouraged or are they mocked with the people feeling humiliated? Take a look around your work environment. Are people being respected? Are they being treated as you would want to be treated? Are you really doing what Forbes and CALMC has suggested or is the culture one that encourages workplace bullying?

For more assistance on increasing employee productivity or encouraging employee engagement, continue to read our blogs and visit CALMC on Facebook for suggestions on ways to start. We also offer webinars on

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
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