5 Secrets to Getting More From Your Team

secretsSome gurus say people are the key to success, and they are half right.

You can have the greatest university or strategy in the world, but none of it matters if you don’t have the people to execute it.

But if you are trying to beat your competition or hit your numbers while being asked to do more with less, I say the key is engaged people.

Employee engagement is the degree to which employees are psychologically invested in an organization, and motivated to contribute to its success. The key “output” of engagement is discretionary effort toward attaining organizational goals.

If you’ve got the key to unlock the mystery of how to get more of that discretionary effort, you immediately put yourself in the top 10 percent — and ahead of 90 percent of everyone else who is slogging along.

You’ll also find having engaged, motivated employees providing discretionary effort to help the university succeed suddenly means you aren’t as bogged down spending time making up for under performance and can actually spend more time being the leader you want to be (and perhaps the spouse or parent you’d like to be).

Here are the 5 secrets that people most want in return for their efforts at work. The better job you do with each secret, the more engaged — and productive — your employees become.

  1. Recognition and appreciation
  2. Personal accomplishment
  3. Career development
  4. Belief in organization’s future
  5. Compensation

To engage employees, organizations need to do a good job of showing appreciation for employees and of recognizing their contributions. They need to give employees a feeling of personal accomplishment, and provide opportunities for employees to develop their skills and advance in their careers.

They also need to foster a feeling of optimism about the future, and confidence in the organization’s prospects for future success. Finally, organizations need to structure their compensation plans and communicate about compensation practices in ways that make employees feel fairly and appropriately compensated. (Bruce Campbell: Modern Survey’s formula for winning through people)

Interestingly, every one of the 5 secrets, with the exception of compensation, is known as a “satisfier,” meaning an employee becomes more satisfied and engaged as their satisfaction increases over time with that secret. However, compensation is seen as an entitlement by employees and will only dissatisfy if it is not at an appropriate level.

In other words, employee satisfaction doesn’t go up if they are paid more, it is only viewed as an expectation. Take the case of employee raises; if a raise is given one year it makes them happy for a short time, but it then turns into an expectation and if it is not paid the following year, the employee becomes dissatisfied.

Efforts to increase satisfaction in the other key areas do far more to increase employee engagement than efforts around compensation. This validates the claim that “t isn’t just about the money.” The bottom line is that you can pile a ton of money on someone and you won’t get long-term satisfaction or motivation.

In the event I didn’t make a strong enough case, there is a good body of research that has consistently found significant, tangible benefits to high employee engagement (courtesy again of Bruce Campbell from Modern Survey):

  • Gallup: Engaged workplaces yield a 38% increase in productivity
  • Hay Group Insight: Fully engaged employees are 2.5 times more likely to exceed performance expectations than disengaged colleagues.
  • GTE: Every 1 percent improvement in employee engagement boosts customer satisfaction by 0.5 percent.

So what are you waiting for?

Email me at cwills@studentpaths.com with the secret password ENGAGE in the subject line, and I will provide you specific, actionable tactics I’ve developed to engage my team in each of the drivers of engagement. You’ll enjoy seeing the results!


Chris Wills About Chris Wills

Father Time, or Chris Wills, is passionate about helping other leaders learn and grow and free up time they didn’t think they had. He is the Founder of Student Paths, an organization that better prepares students for their future in college, career and life readiness. You can reach Chris at: cwills@studentpaths.com

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