How to drive employee engagement in 4 steps

Each Monday morning most of your people are already NOT motivated to do the work you’ve hired them to do.
If you think otherwise, look at the global statistics:

According to Gallup World Poll:
“The bulk of employees worldwide — 63% — are “not engaged,” meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest effort in organizational goals or outcomes. And 24% are “actively disengaged,” indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers. In rough numbers, this translates into 900 million not engaged and 340 million actively disengaged workers around the globe.”

To zoom in for us here in Europe: “In 19 Western European countries, 14% of employees are engaged, while (…) 20% are actively disengaged.”

Who’s responsible for this?

One of the biggest discoveries of the Gallup World’s Survey is that “the manager or team leader alone accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement.”
In other words: driving engagement is a leader’s job.

And that’s exactly where the problem often is: employee engagement is usually considered a “soft” part of the business and it is mostly not owned by leaders.
It is delegated to the HR where the usual happens: the HR managers do their “homework”, run some shallow initiatives that they can tick off on their “to do” list but which are doomed from the start because people instinctively know that this is just lip service, and the leaders don’t own those initiatives.

So how can leaders raise the bar on employee engagement? How can they convince people that they understand that the archaic method of “carrot-and-stick’ is no longer effective, and they are willing to try a new approach?

Give people what REALLY motivates them (based on research)

  1. People want purpose and meaning from their work. They want to know that their work
    matters and they want to know that the larger ecosystem of stakeholders benefits from
    their efforts. This is the WHAT behind employee engagement.
  2. People want autonomy: they want to be able to decide how they do things.
    That’s why micromanaging is so damaging – good reminder to stop doing it.
  3. People want relationships (connection), particularly with a manager who can coach them to the next
    level. This is the WHO that drives employee engagement.
  4. People want to be known for what they’re good at, for their mastery. They want to
    constantly grow their skills and expand their ability.  They want to know that their
    managers care about and invest in their development.

For me, the biggest motivation is knowing that I help leaders create better workplaces and keep their teams happy, healthy and engaged by being a better leader (my purpose). I work with my clients on being better coaches to their teams.
This requires that they work on their own mastery: that they learn better communication skills (listening, giving & receiving feedback, allowing silence, audience-focus etc.), coaching skills (curiosity, withholding judgement, being objective, allowing space, asking powerful questions, challenging, conflict prevention etc.) and EQ skills (self-awareness, self-regulation, people skills, empathy, relationship management etc.).

Knowing that I have such ripple effect through working with impactful individuals is the best job in the world! 😊

Over to you: what motivates you?

And how do you motivate your people? How do you make sure that you build the motivation and engagement on purpose, autonomy and mastery, not on carrot-and-stick approach?

More for you

Watch Dan Pink’s TED talk The Puzzle of Motivation

And / or read his book “Drive The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us