Motivating the Engaged
Leadership trends provide guidance, much needed insight and manageable ways to improve a company’s bottom line; however, they can quickly become overwhelming time-sucks. Managing your team and keeping the company culture relevant and engaged competes for your time and company dollars while promising to improve customer relations through loyal branding and employee promotion of that brand profits when engaged employees work more productively and efficiently. However, engagement is not the singular answer.
In previous articles, we’ve looked into the role leadership plays in the employee cycle, how leadership must engage five fundamentally different generations collaborating in their workforce and the dangers of losing high-potential employees to burnout, despite their engagement levels. A single thread weaves through all of those topics and it may not be what you expect. While leaders strive to engage their employees for obvious reasons, they may be failing to motivate them. Engagement and motivation are necessary, but different working phenomenons. Engagement looks at the attention spent working at a project or job, taking into consideration the “what” of the endeavor. This is why burn-out can occur in your highly-engaged employees. They are attentive and focused on the work at hand, but if their motivation isn’t addressed, they become fatigued and frustrated.
Motivation looks at the “why” of the project. Why does the employee want to engage in the work at hand? If a leader can trigger both the motivation and engagement of an employee, they can not only improve productivity, but encourage loyalty and longevity in an era increasingly becoming tight on talent. Therein lies the crux, motivators are as varied as the motivatees, so motivating every employee is daunting at best, but we have found a few ways to quickly increase the level of motivation within your company
Motivating the team
At the corporate level there are many things leadership can put into place to increase the overall motivation factor of their workforce. Initially a company’s workforce should be surveyed and the information analyzed to look at things like benefit package preferences, generational gaps within the workforce and training loopholes.
Look to address some of the following questions:
Do we have a wide array of generations looking for motivational factors varying from pay scale increases to flex-leave and remote options?
Are we lacking viable options for under-represented employees? Not only are under-represented employees a hidden wealth of talent, but having a varied culture in the workforce is attractive to incoming talent, motivating them to contribute and belong.
Do we provide opportunities for employees to cross-train roles? Mentor and be mentored? Experience self-assistance training to help balance work-life? For example, programs designed to address the growing needs of caregivers in the workforce help those caregivers who overwhelmingly report their caregiving responsibilities impacting their attention, health and career paths; focus on self-improvement and motivate them to re-engage with your team.
How well does leadership communicate the company brand and vision? Do employees believe they are and their company is serving their customers well and completely?
Motivating the individual
Once leadership examines their unique workforce and the needs they bring to the table, generalized benefit packages and training programs can be offered to encourage continued motivation and communications can be honed so all employees can discover their importance in the work at hand. As a whole this goes a long way to provide individual contributors the motivation sought to do good work well, but to retain high talent and maintain a healthy level of engagement, individual motivation may also need to be analyzed and addressed.
Motivation, like engagement, flows from the top-levels of leadership to the heart of every company’s workforce. If leadership discovers inadequacies in their company’s motivation, an internal look at leadership morale may be helpful.
Does our leadership understand the vision of our company? Are our managers valued and know they are valued? Do they know their role in helping the company and in helping the community at large?
Considering the stress levels leadership faces, are they given the opportunity and encouragement to re-fuel, unplug and train in areas that are self-focused, like health and well-being?
Is leadership encouraged to focus on their strengths or build-up their weaknesses? Focusing on strengths provides a lot of positive feedback in both motivators and engagement.
Can they balance the high level of competition (perceived or actual) inherent in leadership roles, the tension between ambition and humility and possess the necessary traits of a good leader? Are their coaching or mentoring needs met in order to alleviate the stress caused by leading before one is ready?
Motivating a team becomes automatic for a motivated leader. Their exuberance for the company and excitement for the vision is an irresistible contagion and it bears a trickle-down effect. When leadership motivates management, management motivates their teams. Coupling team motivators like benefit packages and community purpose with infectious leadership creates a powerful workforce that is both productive and profitable.