The Snitch

Just a little of everything HR

Engaging the nine-to-five worker

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Disengaged nine-to-five workers will slack off on the job

Disengaged nine-to-five workers will slack off on the job

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an afternoon talk by Right Management. At the forum, Michael Hyter, president and CEO of Novations Group was presented with a question: How do you keep the classic nine-to-five worker engaged?

Nine-to-fivers are workers who are not really looking for development. They want to feel comfortable at their jobs, and they want to go home on time. However, they are not necessarily bad at their jobs. In fact, they are capable, and they sustain the business pretty well.

Having engaged employees is crucial, as the economic downturn has repeatedly shown us. According to a Hay Group survey, companies that have remained focused on employee engagement have succeeded in maintaining or increasing motivation levels. These motivation levels are critical to deliver superior financial results and employee performance.

Productivity is dealt a blow when employees are no longer interested in their work, causing the morale of other employees to slump. These disengaged employees are also likely to jump ship to a company with better prospects.

Hyter believes we are all wired to be engaged when opportunities present themselves. Nine-to-fivers are usually under-stimulated, but it is possible to keep them engaged, especially when you show them a clearer perspective on the outcome.

He feels we should spend less time simply judging them, but instead encourage and motivate them. The key is to look at what interests them, and what their passions are. Focus less on changing them. Instead, work on developing them to achieve more, says Hyter.

Written by KT

August 18, 2009 at 11:13 am

One Response

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  1. The ‘leadership’ component is clearly key here to helping engage and involve the nine-to-five team member. How this person is led, motivated and communicated with, is really important to keeping them interested and taking ownership of their area of work. Once someone has ‘ownership’ of a certain task or function, they tend to move away from the nine-to-five mentality and more toward doing what it takes to get THEIR area of ownership right or completed on time. – Jessica Chew, Adecco Singapore Marketing Team (

    Jessica Chew

    August 19, 2009 at 5:14 pm

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