In organizations all over the world, employees are dying inside. They drag themselves to the office and perform their jobs just well enough to not get fired. They nap, snack, and lumber around the workplace, haplessly killing time and strangling your bottom line.
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There’s only one way to describe these poor souls: occupational zombies, otherwise known as The Working Dead. They are lurking in every corner of your organization, and it’s up to you to save them before they ruin your business (either by staying… or leaving).
It’s not that these creatures are lazy. They’re just uninspired and aching for something—or someone—to wake them up. That someone is you.
As a learning & development professional, you’re in a unique position to transform these aimless and unmotivated individuals into engaged, spirited, and free-thinking human beings who are excited to apply their talents to your company goals.
Beware—your task won’t be easy. There are many forces working against you and only the brave will prevail. Here are six employee development ideas to help you breathe life into The Working Dead.
A great development program doesn’t just help today’s workers deepen their existing competencies. It also gives them access to skills outside their current lines of work. Your zombie-fied workers will liven right up when they see the opportunity to learn any skillset they’re inclined to pursue.
Actively collaborate with your people to discover how they can embark on career pathways that both fulfill their goals and meet the needs of your business. That will encourage the organization to invest in your development efforts and make it easy to retain your newly empowered—and reanimated—employees.
Learning needs to touch everyone in your organization, not just the undeadest of the dead. In order to ensure that every employee develops evenly—especially those who wail at the thought of training—focus on making the learning experience as engaging as possible. Just imagine if your employees liked consuming learning material as much as they like consuming brains.
Employees perform better with coaching and mentoring. Without it, work can start to feel pretty lifeless. Empower front-line managers to nurture and motivate employees in a way that furthers their individual goals—not just the organization’s. With that kind of personal touch, your zombies just might feel a bit more human.
One of the biggest reasons people reach this zombie-fied state is they lack a clear understanding of how their current job contributes to their long-term career vision. Help employees see how they are building transferable skills that align the work they do today with the living people they hope to become.
Revive your zombies by helping them learn new things every single day. You can do this by making bite-size support content available right in the workflow. The most effective L&D professionals understand that development isn’t something that happens in addition to the job. It’s part of the work itself.
Great employees don’t turn into zombies overnight. It happens over time as work becomes rote and they lack sufficient opportunities to learn and advance. By giving your people the resources and coaching they need to hit today’s goals and tomorrow’s milestones, you can emerge victorious in this do-or-die battle for employee engagement—and prevent your office from succumbing to the terror that is The Working Dead.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you.