Project management depends heavily on the interaction and collaboration between your most important assets —your employees. So, what happens when those people feel undervalued?
Here are five signs to watch for to ensure your project stakeholders do not feel undervalued.
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1. A loss of interest and morale
The first thing that usually happens when an employee feels undervalued is that they display a lack of interest in their work and buy-in when it comes to department or company-wide initiatives. If they believe their contributions are not respected or appreciated they may unintentionally or intentionally opt out of activities or contribute less to conversations or workload. A team member may also lack the motivation to share feedback or thoughts with other team members about projects or initiatives; they may consistently contribute less in meetings, excuse themselves early, or simply not pay attention during discussions or activities.
2. Resistance to change
Once an employee loses interest in their work, their resistance to change can impact both minor processes or an entire project. The trouble is, loss of interest and resistance can start subtly and balloon into destructive behavior. Resistance can show itself through apathy (passive resistance) or opposition to new processes or technological advancements (active resistance).
3. Decreased cooperation
It seldom takes long before resistance to change mushrooms into decreased cooperation and noticeable conflict. By this time, a team member likely possesses well-entrenched anger or resentment. This may take a significant amount of time and resources away from projects (or other activities and management duties) to resolve festering issues.
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4. Reduced productivity
When cooperation decreases and conflict increases, it is almost a guarantee that productivity will reach a low point. In this case, regardless of their role within an organization, it is highly unlikely someone will perform at their peak, rather he or she will more often just put in a minimum contribution.
Once productivity is negatively impacted, chances are tasks or objectives are at risk. If issues are not resolved at this point, missed objectives will ensue and the end result can ultimately have a devastating impact on the entire project.
5. Increased turnover
Most likely, an unhappy employee will consider leaving your organization and will focus their efforts on pursuing other opportunities elsewhere. If they reach this point without any genuine efforts from project or company leaders to assure them of their worth, it can be almost impossible to change their minds. The keyword here is "almost" not "impossible."
SEE: Employee termination checklist (Tech Pro Research)
Recognizing the essential role of team members is an important factor in any project's success. While managing projects, the focus can be placed so squarely on time management, quality, and costs, that people are often overlooked and feel unappreciated. In most cases, these situations can be avoided with frequent and positive dialogue about what an individual is doing right rather than just engaging in conversations about what needs to be fixed.
- Employee happiness depends on benefits and work environment, survey says (TechRepublic)
- Does the digital workplace affect our general well-being? A new study says yes (ZDNet)
- Why 75% of your employees could end up costing you millions (TechRepublic)
- Is it time to leave your job? Here are a few points to consider (TechRepublic)
- Facebook employee who called company's culture 'intolerant' is leaving (CNET)
- Leadership lessons learned from tech pioneer Patrick McGovern (ZDNet)
Moira Alexander is the Founder of PMWorld 360 Magazine and Lead-Her-Ship Group, and a project management and digital workplace columnist for various publications. Moira has 20+ years in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large businesses in the US and Canada. To find out more about Moira, go to www.pmworld360.com and www.leadhershipgroup.com.