Can you imagine a work environment where each employee was given a t-shirt displaying his or her level of job engagement? It would make for a pretty honest, transparent, and entertaining workplace, and one in which I can imagine three key takeaways.
First, the Actively Engaged employees would proudly and passionately show their engagement level. They would wear their company shirt every week, or maybe even twice depending on their laundry schedule. They would also seek out and spread their wonderfully infectious positive attitudes to others in the organization. They would volunteer for extra effort and create phenomenal product quality and customer service outcomes.
Second, Ambivalent employees, those in the middle engagement category (Not Engaged or Disengaged), would likely forget their t-shirt at home and therefore display nothing. No vigor, no passion, no pride. No extra effort or volunteerism. Simply put, they would need to be re-engaged. (Two effective ways of doing so are to match them up with a mentor who is actively engaged or “Voluntell” them for a special project or task. Knowing that these employees will never volunteer for any extra work, they need to be “Voluntold.” Try it. It works.)
Third, your Actively Disengaged employees would likely throw out or burn their t-shirt, or wear it inside out, so as to completely disassociate themselves from your organization. They would no doubt actively and maliciously encourage others to do so as well. Your call to action: get rid of these “watercooler malcontents.” Any effort at coaching or hoping to change these people will be a complete waste of time.
What are your employees wearing on their t-shirts and how are you managing it? Have you made it clear to them that they are empowered to choose which t-shirt to wear?