The readers of this publication are well aware that I am on a never ending quest to find the magic potion for what motivates people. Human beings are infinitely complex little creatures so I am becoming more aware that there is no silver bullet to engagement.
I do know what doesn't motivate people: Fear!
People want to be engaged in their work: they want to be part of something they believe in, to create something that matters, to be around people who inspire them. People don't want to be made to feel that the efforts they put forward are grounds for criticism. The economy is improving but no one knows it because we are drown in fear. What will they scare us with next?
Is fear mongering a proposed motivator in your workplace? If so, I wouldn't worry for too long. The world of work is drastically changing for 3 prominent reasons:
1. There are now more Millennials than Baby Boomers in the workplace (sorry for using the M word)
2. Transparency is now an expectation (not an option)
3. Proof is now readily available to everyone
Not Your Fathers Office
My dad woke up before 5am every morning and was rarely home before I went to bed. He put on a suit every day, flew on airplanes weekly, and entertained clients when he wasn't behind a desk. He is my hero for his willingness to endure such nonsense simply to afford to buy me Nikes.
Times have changed.
The formality of stuffy suits and board rooms have given way to jeans and coffee shop conversations. Flying to Iowa in the dead of winter has been trumped by the ability to view a presentation from your bed. It's comfortable, more direct, and less monotonous. The human element hasn't disappeared, we have simply dropped the bravado.
If you believe you can still micro-manage people into success, you are wrong! We now have proof that we are more successful if we get out of the cubicle. We understand that time and money wasted on business travel often extends the process of problem solving. We want to get to work, get it done, and look for another challenge.
Employees are no longer on trial...it's the Executives turn to answer....
In the early 90's, there was an organization with an "open door policy". They claimed to empower employees as a means for collaborative leadership development. A distinct trend developed in this organization. The employees who were bold enough to engage in the CEO's office hours had about a 90 day shelf life. This is a true story.
Far too often we dismiss input from the trenches as "squeaky wheel negativity". We cannot avoid reality any more!
Performance reviews are being replaced by enterprise performance empowerment applications. Crowd sourcing is replacing executive ego stroking. We are starting to admit that Gamification is not just for kids any more.
The result: the employees are now on display and they like it! Facebook has made people more bold, more articulate, and more aware of what should/should not be broadcast.
You cannot pretend inefficiencies do not exist: If you suck, we will know. If you are awesome, you will let us know.
Analytics: Its not just for Finance any more....
Big Data: it frightens Data Architects and delights consumers. In-house information toggling has been replaced by free web portals that allow everyone to identify the habits of everyone. I don't need Hal anymore. I can run a business from an i-phone. Odds are your employees know more about you than you do them.
Scary....not really! You should only be scared of big data, the social enterprise, and the more agile workforce if you have something to hide!
Don't Forget to Remember!