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What Makes Employees Tick?

Do we really need yet another list of the 5 tips or the 7 rules or the 3 keys to “truly effective” employee engagement?  Maybe not, but the cause is vital enough to continue exploring ways to fine-tune the formula.

Part of the need to do that stems from the misguided flood of one-off activities that people cite as examples of engagement in the workplace.  Typically, they’re little more than anemic lists of do’s and don’ts that suffer from the “program trap” or “icing-on-the-cake syndrome.”

The litany of perks, plaudits, and periodic get-togethers have become so passé and predictable it’s hard not to roll your eyes at what companies say they’re doing to boost employee engagement.  We’ve all seen them – employee of the month awards, town hall meetings, lunches with the boss, performance incentives and prizes, picnics, pizza parties, fitness club memberships (to burn off the excess calories from the pizza parties) and on and on.

Far less often do you hear about essential changes being made in routine systems and processes that improve the way employees get engaged and aligned in their day-to-day work. Another missing piece is an adequate appreciation for what’s at the heart of employee behavior in the first place.

At the risk of piling onto the lexicon with another list of needs, drivers and forces for effective employee engagement and alignment, here are three interlocking pillars that get at the heart of what makes people tick in the workplace.

Connection Needs (ABC)

  • Achieve – experiencing continuous growth and accomplishment
  • Belong – being a valued part of the team
  • Contribute – making a difference to others

Driving Forces

  • Animal nature – ensuring comfort and survival
  • Human nature – nurturing imagination and freedom

 Operating System Requirements

  • Being heard and heeded – embedding a process for paying attention and respecting input
  • Clear and credible expectations – avoiding fuzzy and overly ambitious goals and directions
  • Support and resources to do what’s expected – providing what people need to succeed
  • Control over decisions and actions that affect personal wellbeing – giving people the liberty to do what they believe is right for them and others without fear of reprimand
  • Constructive accountability – employing a clearly defined process that ensures commitments are met and people are supported

Want to learn more about how we help organizations get employee tuned in, turned on and eager to go the extra mile – systematically?  Check out this 6-minute video, and then give us a call.

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A nationally recognized expert on employee engagement, Les Landes is the author of the business fable, “Getting to the Heart of Employee Engagement.” Contact Les Landes at 314-664-6497 or send an e-mail.

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