- Alienation happens when employees feel separated from themselves and others.
- Employees often feel alienated at work, and employers must work to prevent those feelings.
- Employers can take an active role in eliminating alienation from the workplace.
Employers that want to prevent employees from seeking positions elsewhere should make sure their employees are interested in their work, research shows.
More than 60% of workers said they'd be at least somewhat likely to leave their current position if they felt their work wasn't captivating enough, a study from staffing services firm https://www.businessnewsdaily.com. That disengagement hurts not just employees but also the company.
"When workers are disengaged, retention shouldn't be a company's only concern; productivity and customer service levels also suffer," said Robert Hosking, OfficeTeam executive director. "There are many factors that contribute to strong employee engagement. Chief among them are the ability of staff to reach professional goals and understand how they contribute to the organization's big-picture objectives."
What is alienation in the workplace?
Alienation in the workplace happens when a worker can express individuality only when they are producing work. The worker is a piece of a whole, and they begin to lose their voice. They lose their independence and become just another cog in the wheel. Employees become emotionally separated from others and their own feelings when they feel alienated. Feelings of alienation can happen without the employee or employer even realizing it.
What does alienation do to an employee?
When employees feel alienated from managers and co-workers, they feel like they are objects and disrespected. Alienation makes employees feel like they are not needed in their jobs. As a result, they do not feel loyal to the company and are eager to look for other jobs.
How companies alienate employees
There are many ways companies alienate employees, sometimes without even realizing it. That's why it's important to pay attention to the signs your employees are giving you.
Here are some ways you may be alienating your employees and how to correct it, according to OfficeTeam:
- Keeping them in the dark. Instead: Whenever feasible, employers should give their staff updates on the company's financial performance and long- and short-term goals, and explain what this information means for them and their jobs. Sharing this information will help employees feel connected to the organization.
- Not asking for their input. Instead: Actively seek feedback from team members. Managers and company leaders should maintain an open-door policy, as well as an open mind, so that it's easy for employees to approach them. They should also reach out to employees who may be uncomfortable voicing their thoughts to ensure their ideas are heard.
- Keeping them boxed in. Instead: Businesses should encourage staff members to take on new responsibilities and projects. By giving workers a chance to try new things, they'll demonstrate their confidence and achieve greater things.
- Ignoring their goals. Instead: It's crucial for employees to set career goals so they feel they're working toward a larger objective and can see the company supports their professional aspirations. Employers should talk to their staff about their ambitions and work with them on plans for meeting those objectives.
- Working them too hard. Instead: Leaders need to remind workers to take regular breaks to recharge and set a good example by doing so themselves. When the team seems particularly stressed, organize a collective breather with snacks or a catered lunch.
- Playing favorites. Instead: Make sure to treat employees equally and spread out the work. You may not realize that you are giving some opportunities and recognition to certain employees, so make a conscious effort to give everyone a fair chance.
- Not valuing them. Instead: Recognize employees' contributions to the organization. When employees feel appreciated, they will care more about their work and put in more effort.
What are the types of alienation?
- Alienation from production. This type of alienation happens when the worker does not see the final product they produce; rather, they focus only on a piece of what they are producing. As a result, workers don't understand what role they play in the entire process.
- Alienation from the act of production. This happens when an employee is only given a set of instructions to complete; they do not get the instructions for the entire process. The employee never has a role in the whole vision or planning, and they are made to feel that those who create the vision are an elite class.
- Alienation from themselves. By nature, people want to be creative and then implement those ideas. This type of alienation happens when people cannot maintain that part of their humanity; they feel as though they cannot be themselves. They may even begin to feel like they are not human.
- Alienation from others. This type of alienation tends to happen when workers specialize in a small piece of a larger whole. While it may be good for employees to have a specialty, these employees begin to feel like they are in a thankless job, and they also may feel like they're missing out on bonding with others.