The Secret to Employee Engagement: Avoid The Top 3 Mistakes

Does your organization suffer any of these?

  • Absenteeism
  • Sense of entitlement
  • High staff turnover
  • Poor time utilization
  • Poor work quality
  • Low productivity
  • High employee and/or customer complaints
  • Conflict in the workplace
  • Resistance to listen or change

These are typical symptoms of unengaged employees. What can you do? What has created this situation? Is it inevitable? Does the problem lie with employees or management or is it more complicated than this?

Mistake Number One

The secret to employee engagement is not in leadership training, it is not in employee engagement training, it not in an employee satisfaction survey, it is not in seminars books or DVDs. Theory changes nothing. It is action that makes the difference.

Mistake Number Two

The secret to employee engagement is not in knowing about the diversity of workers in your organization.  Knowing about Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, the Millennials, minorities, single parents, religions, cultures, political preferences, does not matter. Universalizing (stereo-typing) in this manner will lead you to wrong conclusions that will damage the ability to generate employee engagement.

Mistake Number Three

This is the single biggest mistake. The secret to engaging employees is not assuming that employees are like you. Don’t assume they have similar needs, values and would like to be treated as you would.

We are dramatically different

The reality is people are dramatically different, so different it is as if we are from different planets. What will motivate and engage one employee may demotivate or disengage another. What constitutes self-interest for one employee will not for another. These differences are present regardless of the diversity group.

As early as the fifth century BC, Hippocrates described groups of human characteristics, each cluster very different yet equally valuable in its own way. There have been many variations and developments of these fundamental groupings over the years.

So how do you Motivate and Engage Employees?

The answer is locked away in your employees, in their values, beliefs and needs. Each of us has a unique set of motivational drivers and unless a leader can align with these, it will be difficult to motivate and engage employees over the long term.

The answer lies in appealing to an employee’s self-interest. If it is not in their interest employees are not likely to want to do it, or they certainly won’t continue to do it.

To access this information you must talk to your employees and have tools to assist you in measuring the key indicators that generate employee motivation and engagement.  These tools must also support you in the alignment process. Armed with the insights and tools, you can then have a framework for improving employee engagement and motivation over time. Without this framework you will fall into the biggest mistake of treating people like you want to be treated. As humans we too easily fall into this safe place.

When leaders are able to put this system in place and execute it consistently their efforts are most often rewarded with a reciprocated effort from the employees.

That is how you change your company culture…from one to many.

Need a systematic approach to unlocking the answer to Employee Engagement? Get that and FREE Employee Engagement Surveys that measure needs.

As a follow up, stay tuned for insights into the three basic personality types in the workplace – carers, doers, and thinkers. Employees will have a mixture of these motivations, which in turn explains how different employees need to be aligned with in order to engage them.

3 Responses to The Secret to Employee Engagement: Avoid The Top 3 Mistakes

  • I agree with appealing to self-interest. As Robert Greene says in his landmark book, ‘The 48 laws of Power’, self-interest, is the greatest interest.

    • Michael,
      There are several more I like in addition to that one: Win through your Actions, Never through Argument; Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself – Isolation is Dangerous; Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following; Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others. I keep finding more insights in the laws as I get older. The learning never ends! Thanks for the comment.

  • Great post, you have pointed out some excellent details, I also conceive this is a very excellent website.

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