Haven’t we talked about employee engagement enough? Nope! Because despite the amount of time, energy and effort that organizations around the globe are investing in helping engage people in work, things aren’t improving much. Weekly pizza socials, guest speakers and telecommuting options are certainly appealing. I like pizza as much as the next guy. And, sure, a monetary bonus and summer hours will certainly put a smile on someone’s face. But here’s the issue – none of these things will motivate your people day in and day out.
These tactics don’t drive people’s discretionary efforts, passion or dedication. It takes a completely different approach to drive a culture of engagement in your organization. You just need to follow four steps that I call the Four Roots of Engagement.
If you’re a parent, you’re probably familiar with the expression, “Do as I say, not as I do.” As we strive to set a good example for our children – and recognize that they’re watching our every move – we often wish they’d only heed our advice and not our actions.
It’s not much different in the workplace. In an effort to create a vibrant, positive and respectful workplace culture, it’s essential that your managers and leaders set a good example. While the connection may not be obvious, that includes compliance with labor laws, particularly with respect to the legal rights of your employees.
When the CEO of one of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains announced that the company would stop selling tobacco products in its 7,700 drug stores, he made headline news and set a powerful example for others to follow. CVS Caremark (recently renamed CVS Health) CEO Larry Merlo put a firm stake in the ground by voluntarily forgoing a source of $2 billion a year in revenue.
So, you might be wondering, what was he thinking?
During a recent keynote, Jeb Dasteel, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Oracle Corporation, said something that gave me pause. “Don’t try to change the culture,” Dasteel urged the hundreds of change agents gathered in a hotel conference room. “Exploit it.”
Dasteel went on to explain that, while building a customer experience strategy inside Oracle — a company that had historically valued its intellectual property more than its customers, he chose to leverage the prevailing engineering mindset instead of trying to change the organizational culture, as so many of us might be tempted to do. “I couldn’t change the culture if I wanted to,” he said.
One of the most important tasks in creating a high-performance culture is taking care of employees’ needs. When employees’ needs are met, and employees feel aligned with the mission, vision and values of the organization, they respond with high levels of engagement and commitment: They come to work with enthusiasm and are willing to go the extra mile to support the organization in its endeavours.
Thus it is important to address the question: What do organizations need to do to create a highly motivated workforce where employees are willing to devote a significant amount of their discretionary energy, as well as their commitment and creativity, to making the organization a success?