The quest for employee engagement has been front and centre in the business world for several years; however, there still seems to be a lack of understanding or will on the part of leadership to take the advice being given by those who have researched the topic.
Starting with Maslow’s theory of hierarchy, Herzberg’s motivation theory, Adams’ equity theory and several psychological studies since, scientific models have clearly demonstrated how motivation works, so this is not new!
More recently, folks like Simon Sinek and Daniel H. Pink have spoken to the business world to further illustrate how we can have more engaged and motivated employees – still – the struggle exists.
Why is it that some of the leaders today still don’t want to make some of these positive changes that have been proven to work?
What is it that they are not buying into?
For those few organizations that have indeed changed the way they recognize their employees by giving them more autonomy over their work and allowing them the flexibility to be creative in what it is that they do – the results are astounding!
The message that I am trying to convey to employers is very much in line with what this most recent messaging has been – treat your employees fairly, with respect and a trust that they will do their jobs well, and with appropriate recognition – and your business will ultimately be more successful and profitable.
My work begins right at the recruiting process. Manage this part well, and you are attracting the type of employees you truly want to hire. Teach those folks in your business that are responsible for the hiring of new employees (and promotion from within) how to effectively interview so that you are getting high-performers. Develop effective orientation and on-boarding processes to give them the best chance of success and be sure that there is good lines of communication – personal communication – real people talking – not totally dependent upon technology – and watch things change!
I have worked in business all my life and have witnessed firsthand how front line supervisors and managers have tried to ‘motivate’ employees in a various assortment of ways. Punishment and reward systems, for example; and believe me – it really doesn’t work!
Well, perhaps for a short time those methods work; but in the long run, the only person that can motivate me – is me. If I am in a work environment that pays me fairly for the work that I do, allows me to have some control over my day to day tasks, has open lines of communication so that I know support is there if needed, recognizes and acknowledges work well-done; provides opportunity for continued growth (personal & career) chances are, I am going to be more engaged and content. That being said, it only stands to reason that I will also be more productive because I care.
At the end of the day, we are talking about relationships.
Yes, the relationship is one that is contractual in nature (employer/employee) but I believe that both parties can and should benefit from the relationship and it is for this reason that I will continue to work with employers to improve their understanding of how to achieve employee engagement through effective communication strategies.
It’s what I believe…It’s what I do.
Related to The Quest for Employee Engagement:
- The importance of employee engagement
- Ideas for offering flexible work options
- How to Identify What Motivates Your Employees