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How Do I Deal With Uncommitted Employees?

For the past few months, I've sensed a decline in engagement among my staff. I'd say about half of them seem significantly less energetic and motivated now than they did earlier this year. Because it's such a large percentage of my staff, I can't fire them all. And I'd prefer to inspire rather than fire them anyway. Is it my fault? What can I do?

I don’t often do this, but I am going to recommend that you read a book that provides plenty of ideas on how to engage -- or re-engage -- employees: Love ‘em or Lose ‘em: Getting Good People to Stay by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans (Berrett-Koehler, 1999). So much depends on what kind of work environment you build and maintain. Not every concept in this book will be practical or possible for you to try, but many will. And you will benefit, I think, from the new mindset that you gain as well.

Just for the record, I don’t think that the word “fault” should be involved in this scenario. After all, employees, too, can be proactive about improving things. But we can all use a refresher now and then -- even though maybe qe're only being reminded of things we already knew, but momentarily forgot. These past half-dozen years have been pretty hard on managers, and for a while, survival was all we were hoping to attain. Now it is time to kick things into gear in a variety of positive ways.

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