Let's look at the definition of the words motivation and engaged. Engaged: Busy or occupied. Motivation: the reasons someone has for acting or behaving in a certain way or the willingness or desire to do something.
Employee engagement and satisfaction are hot topics, but personally I am not interested in busy or occupied employees. I am interested in employees who have the desire to do their jobs and the willingness to work hard. So what if we altered our employee engagement strategies to encompass employee motivation techniques? And what about measuring motivation instead of employee engagement? Rather than sending out an employee survey how about looking at the employee's initiative, resilience, goal directiveness, and on-task attention? Or the overall vitality and well-being of the company? These may be better indicators of your employee's satisfaction.
So how do you motivate your employees?
A good place to start is by building relationships. Research shows that people have social needs such as affiliation, secure relationships, power, and achievement. Affiliation allows a person the opportunity to please others and gain his or her approval. Additionally, empowering your employees with challenging assignments along with autonomy gives them the sense of achievement and power.
Secondly, amplifying your employees strengths and repairing their weaknesses works in your favor. People most commonly enjoy doing what they are good at. It provides for a strong sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem. Acknowledging weaknesses and repairing them by offering training or education empowers your employees with the knowledge they need to take initiative and grow.
Next, help your employees set goals and talk through the steps needed to accomplish them. Most of us have goals but the steps to reach them are ambiguous. As a matter of fact, those who motivate others rarely focus on the outcome rather the quality of the actions taken to get there. Again, this is where strong relationships come into play.
Lastly, be a role-model by modeling the behavior you desire from your employees. Nothing says "these are my expectations" better than walking the talk.
Is it time for your company to re-evaluate your employee engagement strategies?