Markets shift, economies surge and ebb, leadership changes, but the constant in every organization is the intrinsic motivation of staff. They are propelled by the same basic wants and needs as pre-industrial revolution workers. What are these motivators? Why do they matter? What is the result on the short and long term success of an organization? The following are some thought provoking ideas and methods to increase employee engagement.
Lead, Don’t Manage
Management was a very popular movement during the period from 1890 to 1940. During this period American manufacturing focused on scientific industrial management which included time and motion studies. This leadership movement transitioned into Command and Control which has its roots in the World War II American Military. This worked effectively for large companies, but during the 1980’s entrepreneurship accelerated. Individuals were again recognized for the intellectual ability to solve problems. The movement today is towards Leadership instead of Management. Workers no longer want to be managed, they want to be led.
Antecedents > Behaviors > Consequences
The above heading is from organizational behaviorists. They have stated for years that organizations begin with antecedents which lead to behaviors and thereby results in consequences. An interpretation that applies to this topic would be an effective, employee focused company culture enforced by leadership will lead to high employee engagement and a sustainable organization. Peter Drucker has stated that the outcome of every organization is directly tied to its culture.
Screen for Skill, Hire for Attitude
Human capital is important, but what type? Skills can be taught, but attitudes are difficult to change. Employee engagement breeds in a harmonious workplace and languishes in a toxic workplace. Hiring optimistic people with positive energy is extremely important to raising engagement levels.
Effective Systems and Processes are Critical
Clearly defined systems and processes increase accuracy, reduce labor costs, contribute to workplace harmony and lessen the need for “people” managers. Leaders can then become coaches and guide staff to reach their self-actualization or best possible performance. There are two critical components that are usually not considered as systems and processes
- Financial Transparency – The Great Game of Business is the single most effective and impactful system for financial transparency. No other method is as successful in involving people in “ownership” than understanding “business”.
- Internal Communication – When done properly, this communication is peer to peer, from the ground up as well as top down. Everyone has a need to know, and will think they know, but do they know the truth? Staff eventually turns off top down communication.
I am Somebody!
Reward and recognition is more powerful than most “perks” and far less expensive. Over time, perks become expected. Public rewards and recognition bring personal pride to the forefront of the human emotion. There are few greater feelings of accomplishment than to be recognized by your peers for an achievement, and there is no great motivator to continue, then recognition. Rewards do not have to be monetary to be effective. Sometimes monetary rewards are the least effective.
Implementing and improving these tools will result in high levels of employee engagement, lower levels of employee dis-engagement (the drones of an organization) and a drastic decrease of active employee dis-engagement (toxic destroyers). And, as the culture becomes embedded with the organization, empowerment and innovation will naturally emerge resulting in sustainable growth.
Join Tom at The 21st Annual Gathering of Games to learn more about this topic at his session: It’s My Company Too! A Formula for Building Sustainable Success through Employee Engagement. Learn more about conference speakers; including Tom.
The 21st Annual Gathering of Games is September 4-6 in St. Louis, Missouri. Register Today!