I’m very opinionated about how the Post-Pandemic work environment should operate. I agree with Gallup’s findings that the workforce is divided into three distinct groups: Engaged Team Members – who comprise 32% of the work force and are committed to their organization and their Team and are willing to give the discretionary effort necessary to get the job done right.

Then there are the Unengaged Team Members, also known as the “quiet quitters”, who comprise 50% of the workforce and do just enough work to not get fired.

And last, and definitely least, there are the actively disengaged Team Members, whom I refer to as “The Working Dead”. They comprise 18% of the workforce and are so toxic to the organization and their team, they should have been terminated yesterday.

And, no, I don’t believe the organization should spend the additional time energy and resources necessary to – maybe – rehabilitate The Working Dead. Rather, the organization would be much better off terminating The Working Dead and taking the time, energy and resources wasted on them (like the last raise The Working Dead didn’t deserve but received just because it was a company-wide cost of living raise) and applying them to the Engaged Employees who deserve it!

Based on the makeup of the workforce into these 3 groups in most organizations, I advocate a simple, but effective, leadership philosophy in my coaching program:

Team Leaders should Recognize and Reward the Engaged Team Members; they should train and motivate the Unengaged Team Members, who have the potential to become Engaged Team Members; and Team Leaders should terminate The Working Dead.

By the way, every Team Member knows who The Working Dead are and they don’t understand why they haven’t been terminated. I believe the fact The Working Dead haven’t been terminated is a leadership failure that has negative ramifications throughout the organization. Why? Because it demotivates the Engaged Team Members and send the Unengaged Team Members the wrong message about the kind of Team Member they need to be.  After one of The Working Dead is finally terminated, the resounding response from the Engaged Team Members is “Why did it take so long?”

Unfortunately, the pandemic allowed the Working Dead and the Quiet Quitters to thrive because managers were afraid that, if they terminated them, they would not be able to replace them. And this conundrum also eroded the established standards and expectations since managers were afraid to enforce them.

But in the Post-Pandemic hyper-competitive marketplace, it’s apparent that, ditching the pre-pandemic Industrial Age Command & Control standards and replacing them with high standards and reasonable expectations that recognize, and satisfy, the needs of both the work force and the organization are required for success.

Based on this requirement for Post-Pandemic success, here is a process I recommend for developing and maintaining high standards and reasonable expectations for individuals, Teams and the organization:

1.   It’s imperative that the Engaged Team Members be fully included in any process that creates Team and organizational standard and defines reasonable expectations.

2. It’s important that Team Member expectations begin in the hiring process.Do not hire Team Members who are, to quote Taylor Swift, “A nightmare dressed like a day dream”, and lack the attitude for performing meaningful work to the best of their ability (think Nucor Steel, which established facilities in rural areas where they knew they would hire “the farmer mentality” – hard work, all day, every day).

3. Explain to new Team Members, in their orientation process, what the established standards and reasonable expectations are and that, to support their Team, they are expected to meet them. Use clear and specific language. Then have them sign a document stating they understand and commit to uphold the standards and will strive to meet the expectations. Leave no doubt in their minds that this is important! And better to have them quit immediately, then later when they realize they are really expected to meet the standards and expectations.

4. Continually communicate to the entire work force, by words and actions, what the standards and expectations are and why these standards and expectations are important to their success and the success of their Team and the organization.

5. Accept no excuse for behavior that violates the standards. No way; no how!  Every time unacceptable behavior is allowed, it erodes the standard and gives other Team Members unofficially permission to engage in unacceptable behavior.

6. Enforce the standards by first disciplining, and then terminating, those Team Members, Team Leaders and Managers (Oh yeah! 20% of Team Leaders and Managers qualify as members of The Working Dead!) who do not support or meet them. The Engaged Team Members, Team Leaders and Managers will applaud you; the Unengaged Team Members will be motivated to become Engaged Team Members or leave; and The Work Dead, at all levels of the organization, will know they either comply and support the standards or their days with the organization are numbered.

7. At least annually, and more often if needed (Team Leaders will know how often the standards need review by consulting with the Engaged Team Members), review the standards with the Engaged Team Members, to determine if they still make sense for the workforce and for the organization. Because they are only standards, and not The 10 Commandments, if they don’t continue to support the needs of the work force and the organization, change them! However, do not change them to accommodate the whining, crying and moaning of the Unengaged and The Working Dead!

Finally, If you work for an organization that doesn’t have or enforce high standards and expectations, look for another job because this organization is not going to thriver in the Post-Pandemic marketplace. Unless, of course, you’re one of The Working Dead, then stay put because you’ve found your home.

If you would like more information about how to develop and maintain high standards or how to get rid of The Working Dead contact me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulglovercoaching/