A Simple Equation For Employee Re-engagement

Posted on October 25, 2017

I am currently working with the owner of an electrical business who has exemplified a simple but powerful method for re-engaging one of their employees in his work and which I thought was worth passing on.

The Employee.

Is an older man who has recently hit a ceiling in his work after having started his new role some months ago. He started dropping the ball, not being attentive to details and was generally letting the broader team down. As a person, he is slower paced in his work processing, people oriented and is indirect in his communication style. He has the skill set for future growth in his role but lacks personal confidence.

The Business Owner.

As a person, the owner is very much the opposite to the employee. She is much younger (approximately 25 years); she is direct in her communication style, fast-paced and adaptive, preferring task completion and managing the business rather than dealing with people. She also has a goal to extract herself from the business so that it becomes others and systems reliant rather than owner reliant.

Re-engagement Approach.

  1. The business owner addressed the situation directly and quickly.
  2. The employee said that he felt like he couldn't do the job to which the owner countered, "do you legitimately feel like you can't do the job or are you just sulking?" (Love this question.)
  3. The owner then went on to say that she fully believed in him and that she had no doubts that he could go to the next level, however, if he didn't want to work in the role any further, she would find him another company to work at immediately.
  4. At this point, the employee got quite emotional and jumped back on board for climbing to the next level in his role.


While the above is a brief synopsis, a few things are worth highlighting. While the owner prefers task accomplishment over people involvement, to her credit she took time to understand the employee and then worked with him from beside. She expressed belief in him, took time to talk things through and offered to help him personally to reach the next level in his job role. She also said those magic words "but it's OK if you want to leave." I have found over many years that providing this option to employees either helps fully re-engage them or assists them to leave quickly - for both their benefit and the benefit of the organisation.

Understanding the person + getting beside them + expressing belief in them + offering to help them + being willing to let them go...an incredibly simple yet powerful equation for re-engagement.

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