Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reframing Employee Engagement

There seem to be two distinct camps in today's workforce:
- Those who want to have fun
- ...and those who don't

I don't believe this is a generational thing as much as a right brain/left brain epidemic. Unfortunately, most organizational development strategies rely on either/or assumptions.

Let's Reframe The Argument!

Uber-competitive employees enjoy winning. Winning is fun. Therefore, said employees enjoy having fun. They may not want to attend a yoga session or a book club, but the competitors still want to have fun. The analytics want proof before they take action....they are of the very few calculated employees who debunk the fact that our motivation is based 23% on reason and 77% on emotion. Still, when the results of a market campaign come in to show a 7/1 ROI; these beautiful little bean counters show a little emotion (and they love it). In contrast, those who believe that hope and uncompromising effort "win the day", still give no credence to their effort if the scoreboard does not weigh in their favor.

Point being: Fun is the determining factor to results!

We all just want to be happy, we all just want to be part of something we believe in. The catch to the engagement process is tapping into what we, as individuals, enjoy!

Make It Cool
It can be said that we like apple products better because their graphics are cooler. Game mechanics have been in play since Henry Ford used leader boards to encourage line workers to build cars faster and better. But, tablets are more sexy than lap tops and we would all rather hear Aaron Levie keynote at our company meeting than Jack Welch.

We want rapid fire ideas that engage what we love. We want to have fun! We spend most of our waking hours at work, so you better engage our personal interest.

Strategy is not a Commodity
There was a time when Rolex Watches were cool....that time is gone! You heard me, a watch worth 50k is no longer a sign of achievement but a memento of arrogance. We want to achieve our goals, celebrate together, and give money to charity.

Declarative statement: If you are giving your employees a catalogue and a trophy at their significant service milestone; the effect is more negative than positive. This strategy is formed by manufacturers that buy outdated products and mark them up 30 - 60%. They call it employee engagement.

The only conclusion is increased voluntary leave based on the fact that you just celebrated 10 years of loyalty with an outdated memento that could be bought on Amazon for $50.

The game is up!    

The Alarm Clock Test
My alarm clock rings at 4:45 am. If I didn't love what I do by the virtue of feeling genuinely challenged to create something that matters, I would hit snooze.

Do your employees hit snooze?

  • We need to be part of a company that is genuine in their intent: Great companies don't pretend to care for their customer by hiking up prices to pad their margins. 
  • We want to love our leaders: When our CEO speaks at a conference we want to rally behind her in the same way we would Tegan & Sara.
  • We want to be part of something that matters: Money only goes so far and management is mostly unnecessary. I will leap out of bed every day if I know that without my contribution people will lose sleep!

Make it matter! Find out what your employees love and celebrate that!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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