Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Employee Engagement 2010: Part 4

Points for Participation

The recent economic recession and the rise of Generation Y in the work place have produced a glaring truth:

Micro-Management to produce a results driven corporate structure is no longer an option!

As the economy improves the 'lucky to have a job' excuse to abuse employees will be a contributing factor in losing the 'battle for talent'. A Gen Y-er recently told me, "The word Accountability intimidates people and people do not want to be motivated by intimidation".

It is time to re-tool our business culture to address a few note worthy practices:

* Reward the process do not micro-manage the results
* Collaboration not Competition
* Reward and Encourage Social Change and Responsibility as part of your Corporate Philosophy
* Make extra curricular activities voluntary
* Present Equal Opportunities for advancement
* Tenure alone no longer comes with extra privileges

Yes, today's evolving workforce wants to work at their own pace with equal recognition. They want CEO's to be green friendly and community service savvy. They want to be part of something bigger: a company vision that means more that punching a clock and improving stock value. They want to join the team today and have the same opportunities as 20 year veterans. The Baby Boomers who are running organization's often see this empowerment without a proven track record as immature and unrealistic. Be stubborn to corporate adaptation and you will find the talent of tomorrow will find greener pastures. The natives are soon to take over the village.

There is a simple, yet structured, way to to fulfill the worker of tomorrow's need for pro-active recognition of 'above and beyond' effort:

Develop a Points Program that banks points for participation and rewards accordingly!

* Employees attend a walk to benefit breast cancer research - they get points
* Employees submit a qualified nomination to reward a peer's effort - they get points
* Employees get points each year on their service anniversary
* Employees get points on their birthday
* Employees have a qualified 'big idea' - they get points
* Employees hit their quota for the month - they get points

A couple of things to consider to ensure the programs success:

Everybody WinsBold
* Make sure entry level prizes are attainable

* Do not make it a competition
- The majority of employees do not respond well to the race for the carrot
- Your core group of influence will choose not to participate
- The same person will win every time
- The others will give up
- Your 'cool new program' will be perceived as 'lip service'

Ease of Administration
* Develop an easy to use, effectively branded, points portal
* Make it voluntary
* Give Senior Management exposure to program results

The Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow
* The goal of this program is to increase collaboration:
- They will come for the gifts but stay for the community
* Develop a points scale that rewards high end gifts for high point totals
- Fulfills the competitive drive in those who 'have to win'
* Fun gifts at entry levels
- Create a deal or no deal 'cash out' scenario

When we were kids afternoon activities were voluntary. When the teacher pulled out the colorful parachute to bounce a ball on - everyone joined in the fun.

If you are too mature to participate in fun time activities- you are actually immature! Vulnerability is a trait of courage not weakness. If you mask your weaknesses and constantly pretend to be a consummate professional - you are masking your ability to continuously improve. It's true.

You do not have to be a jerk to produce results, you can be a friend and a leader to your employees, when people start realizing that the competition is with other companies in your industry and not within your own - results improve! That is a fact!

If you develop a company culture where 'everyone wins' the top performers will still fulfill their need to be 'the best'. You will be surprised to see those who usually shy away from the race join in because they understand that individual accolades are trumped by a common vision for success.

I have always been a competitor: I have little league trophies and corporate certificates to prove it. However, when I learned to eliminate the unnecessary internal need to prove my worth (sometimes called sucking up), I began to concentrate on what is important: Customers who cherish something they simply can not get anywhere else, innovative products driven by a mutual respect for EVERYONE'S contributions and irreplaceable friendships that are fostered through winning together!

Anyone can put a carrot on a stick and ask a group to run to it. Competition does not create real creates short term validation not long term skills. Teach them the skills and let them win together!

Don't Forget to Remember!

- Dave



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