With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to come up with a blog post full of horror and scary stuff – don't you agree? Well, I decided to talk about zombies this year.
This is an adequate topic for our blog for two reasons:
1. The Walking Dead are on TV again (yay!)
2. Zombies actually have a connection to Training… (really?)
Well, to be honest, this article is not about walkers and some handsome heroes fighting them for survival, but about a different species: the Workplace Zombie.
What is a Workplace Zombie? Here is a short definition in my own words:
A workplace zombie is an unmotivated person that strolls around the office with little or no productive output. It is infectious as this unmotivated air is likely to spread to other colleagues, thus threatening the organization.
I think the analogy hits the nail. I also think, we should be looking into some reasons why people turn into workplace zombies.
Here are a couple of assumptions:
The employee feels overwhelmed; no matter how hard he tries, any of his tasks seem to be difficult. Work turns into a daily struggle, his motivation goes down and he would prefer being anywhere else than at his desk.
He is buried by his workload; he might be a skilled engineer, but the amount of work piling up on his desk doesn’t seem to reduce and he is moving into a dull mode of working off tasks but loses all creativity and excitement about his work.
The employee wasn’t given a clear development path. He might have been motivated initially and ambitious to get on in the organization, but the employer is not investing in his development and he resigns.
A psychologist or HR professional will certainly have more explanations and could go into much more detail (just google for “workplace zombie” – you will find tons of articles!), but the above seem right on to me. And guess what? I do think training can help!
Train your staff - so they get the capabilities to complete their tasks and do them well. The positive feeling of success and feedback from managers will bring back motivation.
Train your staff – and teach them to work more efficiently and follow best practices. If the workload gets more manageable, they can bring their creativity and ideas back in – and motivation will survive.
Train your staff – show them they are valuable to you by setting up a clear development path and investing in the advancement of their skills.
OK, enough said about training at work. I don’t want to finish this blog without telling you about my own personal encounter with zombies… I recently participated in my first Zombiethon – a 5K race where runners are being hunted by zombies and they need to run an obstacle course to get away from them. That was also a great occasion to sport my nice red PTC University shirt, and it was all fun!