The Smell of Disengagement

The Smell of Disengagement

The couple got engaged and then disengaged- what happened?

The employee got so engaged in work and then got disengaged? What happened?

The people got engaged in an environmental issue and then disengaged? What happened?

The investors got engaged in investing and then disengaged? What Happened?

Definition of Employee Engagement

Emotional connection an employee feels toward his or her employment organization, which tends to influence his or her behaviors and level of effort in work related activities. The more engagement an employee has with his or her company, the more effort they put forth. Employee engagement also involves the nature of the job itself - if the employee feels mentally stimulated; the trust and communication between employees and management; ability of an employee to see how their own work contributes to the overall company performance; the opportunity of growth within the organization; and the level of pride an employee has about working or being associated with the company.

I used before the metaphor of paints disengagement from there substrate and the leaves disengagement from their branches. Are these metaphors related to employee disengagement? Let us explore this assumption more deeply and also introduce the glue metaphor here. The metaphors fit very well with the definition of disengagement outlined above.

The paints and trees show wrinkling. Wrinkles form when the top layer dries faster than the bottom layer or when top layer is applied on a contaminated surface. The top layer in organization is the upper management. If the upper management interest in the organization dries up then the glue that bonds the organization together. We know that making wrinkles with glue is a safe and easy way to make our skin appear old and aged before its time. But this wrinkling effect of the glue make the organization looks old and outdated. The employees can smell the deteriorated glue and get disengaged as well. Top management ooze of interest is an invitation to employees to follow steps.

The glue not only wrinkles, but may also degrade into intoxicating volatiles. This reminds me of books. Fresh books may smell right, fresh and energizing. In contrast, once the glue used in making the books or the papers of the book degrade they may produce intoxicating volatiles. Not few volatiles, but degradation produces lots of them. Employees may decompose like paper does while management may decompose like glue resulting in repulsive odors. And who wishes to stay in such environment? Even if the employees stay, their engagement shall be low and their productivity as well.

I recall a visit to a university library with the dean of sciences. The library smelled beautiful and the books were in great shape. I drew the attention that almost all the books had their plastic cover intact. Nobody opened them. The dean inspected many shelves and only one book was borrowed for one hour. He then nodded his head regrettably and asked "why do we invest so much in acquiring new books if nobody is reading them"? Not the teaching staff or their students did. This was a refreshing smell of disengagement. What a paradox!

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Management should act the glue for the organization. Not all glues are the same. Their life span and serviceability depend on the environment, correction of application and the glued substrates. Some glue should be applied with great care because they can be risky to the health till they have sat in. Some glues produce foam. Foam formation may be attributed to the use of low quality glue or to incorrect application of the glue.

Painting the "organization wagon" with low quality paint will lead to all sorts of problems such as wrinkling, flaking, formation of ugly paint spots and many other problems. The paint shall also degrade and produce intoxication. No managerial "glue" shall be able to keep the paint. It is only when the correct glue is applied in the right environment correctly to the correct substrate that it may last. If not, it shall degrade and intoxicates the work environment. And then we ask why do employees get disengaged?


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Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#37
Your linkage of engagement to happiness is prolific dear Donna-Luisa Eversley. It is a buzz on its own. I am so glad to read your comment and it merits wider exposure. I do wish if you would expand it into a buzz. I thank you also sharing the buzz.

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#34
I do appreciate your feedback @Zacharias Voulgaris

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#33
I am glad that I tagged you dear Sara Jacobovici

Zacharias ๐Ÿ Voulgaris

Very insightful and to the point! Thank you for sharing

Sara Jacobovici

Sara Jacobovici

4 years ago #24

#31
Thank you to Ali Anani. It is great to see the same words being viewed from a different perspective. I find our perspective of the value of newer or older employees, their degree of freshness in relation to their engagement very important. For me it brings up the complexity of the sense of smell experienced from the view of the "ventilation" system of the environment. If newer employees come in with a fresh smell only to be prevented from "blossoming" (referring to Dr. Ali's next buzz The Butterfly Effect of Passion) in a well ventilated environment, they may temporarily engage and will either leave their current environment or become older employees still engaged in spite of losing their fresh smell. They adapted to the environment producing the same low quality smell, rather than either leaving to preserve their freshness or contributing to the environment by breathing fresh air into it. Thank you Dr. Ali and Amina for the opportunity to engage in this dynamic discussion.

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#31
Thank you dear Amina Alami then she also offered her explanation of same paragraph. Fresh employees may disengage easily. This is a paradox of its own because freshness means to me they are still fragrant and yet they ae the first to disengage. You make me think deeper. Thank you

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #22

#21
Yes, the mentoring word is what we speak. Expectations are designed and built by many aspects of our life. We all need that feeling of confidence and in most cases with our next generation that confidence has set up expectations that are unrealistic. I can say this was the case for myself and the many i have discussed employment with at our firm. Could we make the statement, expectations developed on poor understanding will always produce poor engagement. Jared \ud83d\udc1d Wiese you have interpreted my comments and extended the discussion into new realms. My conspiracy theory might be that we are placing a large portion of our hiring expectation on education. Given this we now assume "soft skills" are present. We judge our newer generations with this in mind. I'm not a ridged fan but none the less a fan of Maslow's hierarchy. Soft skills allow us to self actualize through experience. We cant gain experience unless someone engages us and our expectations will never shift. The individual experiencing this will struggle through out their career and many other areas. Just a few minutes a day, or changing how we interface with others could increase another's opportunity for success. But in the end each individual has to choose their path. So as you say they need to be released.

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#23
You have a reason to ask deardebasish majumder- but would the artist be happy with his work if soon it tumbles down or breaks into pieces?

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#22
What to say except that your comment is deep and spot on dear Mohammed Sultan. In few words you explained a lot. Thank you

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#21
I hope Harvey Lloyd. I love the idea of engagement vs expectation.

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#20
Upper management not adhering well- you really summarized the concept of the buzz remarkably well Jared \ud83d\udc1d Wiese

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#19
Sara Jacobovici- you hit the nail on its head by writing "The glue has to permeate the surface while it is still wet before it will take hold; it needs time to make itself felt". Your comment is truly the synopsis of the buzz. Your comprehension is again very impressive.

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#18
Yes and you read my mind Sara Jacobovici. I expected you to comment on this paradox being "The Queen of Paradoxes". I am still pondering on your explanations of it.

Sara Jacobovici

Sara Jacobovici

4 years ago #15

Part 2/2 Thank you Ali Anani's comment and thank you Harvey for the mention. I will take a couple of lines from Dr. Ali's buzz to reflect on expectations and engagement. Dr. Ali writes, "Not all glues are the same [and painting] the "organization wagon" with low quality paint will lead to all sorts of problems..." You both touched on the "fit" or shared vision. If the leader, who is the glue, is best suited for a certain type of surface or purpose and the team members or staff are made up of other "stuff", it will not lead to engagement. The glue has to permeate the surface while it is still wet before it will take hold; it needs time to make itself felt. And the quality of the paint, or the investment in the company, whether time and/or effort, will determine the quality of the environment. Unfortunately, some leaders are "blind" to the impact they have on their environment and its influence on the rest of the people involved. If their focus is away from the results of the poor quality of engagement, they will only experience the outcome when things begin to "fall apart". As always, gentlemen, thank you for the opportunity to engage at this level of quality!

Sara Jacobovici

Sara Jacobovici

4 years ago #14

Part 1/2 Another expanding and provoking buzz Ali Anani. I am sure you were waiting for me to comment on, "This was a refreshing smell of disengagement. What a paradox!" I do find this remarkable, a refreshing smell produced the behavior of not engaging. My gut reaction would be that there may have been mixed sensory messages; on one hand the refreshing smell but on the other hand the visual/tactile message of the plastic covers of the books that may have given the signal of "do not disturb".

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#16
You are a very wise man dear Mohammed Sultan. Science is in agreement with your comment. People give the sense of smells different meaning. THis issue is a buzz on its own. The smell paradox is in action because giving different meaning to smells lead to different emotions and thoughts and actions accordingly. All your examples are in alignment with these research findings. I might write a dedicated buzz on this issue. Thank yo

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#13
Thank you Paul Burge for your appreciation and for sharing the buzz as well. I am grateful to you.

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#12
Again, you trapped my mind with more question and ideas Harvey Lloyd. Let me start with the quote in which you ended your comment "Do keep in mind i am speaking from a small business perspective". If organizations are fractal why would scaling them up be a problem? You refer very correctly and ably to the problem of employee selection. New graduates have an an issue as mentioned "Where college meets real world is a turbulent place. Its no longer about knowledge but the generalization of knowledge and different disciplines into a cohesive action of success". They need coaching and patience to come to grip with working life. The second issue is basing employee selection on rotation and its pitfalls. It seems to me the issue of selection is much wider than I have ever thought of because of your comment. We may selectively grow some new and fresh graduate employees, but how do we find out if they are potentially useful in the future? Is it a hit and hopefully one shot will be at the right candidate? Are their criteria to reveal their future potential? Or, are we suffering from the butterfly effect wherein a small change might cause a wide drift in our expectations? There are other issues, but these are enough for now.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #10

#11
"The wisdom in choosing the right staff" This is really the nexus of the issue. The wrong staff are the ones that generally have unmet expectations while from the outside we see "dis-engagement". Our discussions should point to helping these disenfranchised employees understand their own expectations. Why is this a leaders or managers problem? In the past we were well to just rotate through hire's until we found the appropriate "fit". Unfortunately this is becoming an issue. You can rotate through and never find the individual you need or are looking. I find this challenging in that the wiser generation is looking for the wisdom in youth that they cant have until they become the wise generation. Our obligation as the wiser (older), i am being very general here, is to engage a new team member and help them grow. Eventually we would need to make a choice of continuation with the individual. Where college meets real world is a turbulent place. Its no longer about knowledge but the generalization of knowledge and different disciplines into a cohesive action of success. We need to grow people. To the extent possible we should attempt to engage new members within our organization through understanding, not just the organization but also engage with their own expectations. Do keep in mind i am speaking from a small business perspective.

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#10
Great comment as usual Harvey Lloyd. Your reference to Sara Jacobovici is timely and spot on. Engagement and expectations are truly well-connected. If I have expectations that are unrealistic and remotely unachievable then my engagement shall drain out. When people have the secret sauce of "diversity, knowledge and wisdom" they shall be engaged enough to shoot beyond the expectations horizon. The wisdom in choosing the right staff, creating the wright environment and selecting the right glue to hold the company together. As usual, you got me thinking again.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #8

Ali Anani applies here. Engagement is about expectations. The expectations of leadership being one side of Sara's coin and the other side, the employee expectation. The irony of this statement is everyone is an employee. Even leaders have various "bosses" they must report to, and meet expectations. There seems to be a pointed effort at the matrix we call leadership. This effort that leadership, given the secret sauce of diversity, knowledge and wisdom, can make an organization thrive. Does the employee, team member or stakeholder have any obligation to seek out the expectations and interpret these into their own matrix? Can a employee read, have they read, the vision statement of the company they work within? Do they generalize the statements made into their work environment? Engagement is a process where everyone has to participate. Leaders cant create happiness, the ultimate goal of engagement. We must engage ourselves in those we choose to participate. Good stuff as usual.

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#7
Yes, as these sacred cows are n reality far from being sacred. They cheat with their cheating perfumery

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

Devesh Bhatt- thanks for contributing a significant comment. You bring an idea by your writing "burnout scope to"... the smell of burning. A new idea just crossed my mind. Yes, your reference to your buzz on Sacred Cows is timely. I give another example of bookshelves in this buzz. The two might sound distant; in reality they aren't.

Devesh ๐Ÿ Bhatt

Devesh ๐Ÿ Bhatt

4 years ago #5

But no scope to tap local talent, gain competence to be locally competitive nor diversify into related services without kicking out these sacred cows

Devesh ๐Ÿ Bhatt

Devesh ๐Ÿ Bhatt

4 years ago #4

Again, another trigger to curiosity about the subject and also how it would unfold in an interesting way. Talking of all such smells, there is one that comes to mind of the so called sacred cows (ref to the post you are aware of). Now there are organisations where everyone is doing sales and earning commissions. The company ideally wishes to do things internally, but the engineers have become lazy and redundant because they get business and outsource to some small company, taking a cut. Now this is a billion dollar MNC which initially ignored everything for the sake of market entry, but the ignorance has grown to be costly, good revenue, good name and market leadership, burnout scope to

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#3
I am not only amazed by your comprehension, good spirit and appreciation, but also by your grand manners and eloquent buzzes dear Deb\ud83d\udc1d Lange. I faill to express my appreciation to you.

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#1
Thank you dear Deb\ud83d\udc1d Lange for your considerate comment.

Ali ๐Ÿ Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

I thank you Javier \ud83d\udc1d beBee for your sharing the buzz. Greatly appreciated

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