This global workplace phenomenon, presenteeism is defined as a group of passively disengaged employees who are putting in the time but not the passion or discretionary efforts that their employing organisation so desperately requires to be competitive, these employees are described as the individuals who have “quit and stayed”.
Local data on this new workplace trend is scarce – it is said that presenteesim is much harder to quantify than absenteeism. The only data specific information is a report conducted by PDT which suggests that at least 42% of South African employees are not motivated to affect real change in the organisations.
A global survey of employee engagement conduct by Dale Carnegie including South Africa showed that only 29% are fully engaged and 26% are fully disengaged.
Aware of the negative implications of presenteeism in any organisation including the significant impact it has on the success of the company, it has become quite a daunting reality when consider the fact that in order to create a sustainable competitive advantage and ROI, a company’s value and long-term strength – is the workforce. When it comes to people, research has shown that engaged employees significantly outperform those that are not engaged. In the fight for competitive advantage where employees are the differentiator, engaged employees are the ultimate goal.
The tell-tale signs of an enthusiastic employee becoming disengaged
A common occurrence of an employee becoming disengaged is a result of their relationship with their immediate supervisor; this can steam from a number of issues and have a noticeable impact the employees work environment. Some of the factors vary from interpersonal communications, learning and performance or health and well-being. Another key reason engaged employees move toward being “present-but-not-engaged” is a lack of pride in their organisation. An employee’s pride in their company is influenced by a number of elements, including the product or industry, whether employees are treated with dignity and respect and provided with the resources they need to be effective in their roles, how well the company’s “higher purpose” is communicated, whether employees believe in the future of the company and even efforts toward corporate social responsibility.
To combat presenteeism in the workplace, tackle it head it!
It starts with the organisation’s culture; take an honest look at whether it fosters employee engagement. Three key drivers included:
• Relationship with the immediate supervisor;
• Senior leadership’s ability to lead the company and communicate goals; and
• Organisational pride.
The most crucial of them all is the ability to restore the trust that has been lost in senior leadership and the ability to confidently lead the company and communicate the goals.
Employees are the biggest investment and should be the greatest reward
In many organisations, employees are viewed as an asset to be managed rather than as individuals who can create the next innovation for success. Long-term engagement starts with good communication between employer and employees as well as among co-workers, fostering a positive working environment.
By working with employees to create a clear career path and set goals with a potential for growth, a manager can create positive esteem within each team member. By showing them that they are valued and have responsibility, and then to recognise and reward them for a job well done, a manager can create an “involved employee.” It is then much easier to turn that sense of involvement into enthusiasm and a sense of pride in ownership that creates the highest levels of engagement with employees.
Managers and supervisors can turn enthusiasm into full engagement from a multigenerational team to ensure effective workplace environments typified by effective communication, value recognition and motivation.
Neville De Lucia is the New Business Developer of Dale Carnegie Training.