Having an engaged workforce is the gift that keeps on giving. When employees are engaged, they do their best work, apply discretionary effort, go the extra mile and have greater fulfilment from what they do. Customers are more likely to be delighted, refer and repeat their business and the business sees a reduction in costs and an increase in productivity. What’s not to like?
How to engage your workforce is another matter altogether though. Even now, I see dress down Fridays, overtime with pizza and yoga classes being cited as things organisations do to motivate and engage their people. And they do have a role to play. But it’s not the whole picture. When developing your engagement strategy there are two things to remember.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation
Say what? Internal and external motivators. And it’s the internal motivators that carry the weight. If the work that you do aligns to your values, gives you purpose, challenges you, develops you then you are far more likely to engage with it and the infrastructure (company, managers, colleagues) that provides that. There becomes an element of reciprocity in that you want to repay work somehow for all it has brought you – so you do, through the company and its people.
Couple this with the extrinsic stuff; the summer barbecues, the table tennis and the book club, and you won’t go far wrong but neglect it and only deliver the extrinsic stuff and you may get a nasty surprise the next time you seek to understand engagement levels in your organisation.
Clearly engagement comprises much more than just motivation. Culture, reward, potential, purpose and people are all critical factors but reviewing your motivation strategies and effectiveness isn’t a bad place to start.
Take a moment to list the things that your workplace does to motivate you and determine whether they are intrinsic or extrinsic and whether any adjustments need to be made. Better still, take this activity to your next team meeting and get the conversation started.