Posts Tagged ‘employee engagement’

An older insurance ad I recall has recently returned. In it,  a young lady is sadly recalling the accident that totaled her beloved car “Brad.” As she recalls all that they have been through together in the past 4 years, she remembers: 2 boyfriends, 3 JOBS! 3 jobs in 4 years! Do the math. That’s an average of 16 months in each company!clipboard

Welcome to the new job market, Sports Fans! The Rules have clearly changed!

Let’s remind ourselves of the Old Rules:

  • Get training in a field where there is work.
  • Do what you are told.
  • Take every promotion they offer you.
  • Stay until they present you with the “Gold Watch.”
  • Retire. Now go do what you want!

WRONG! I would respectfully suggest the following “Rules” for the New Workplace that have taken over:

Be prepared for change at all times.

Only two things don’t change – God and change. As a company, stay flexible, forward thinking and open to adjustments for you, your industry and your personnel. As a worker, you need not fall in love with change, but you’d better learn how to handle it. Change happens.

Act as if you are self employed.

A career site (no longer around: see, even this changes!) used to tout the tagline “Because EVERY Job is Temporary.” Well, it is. As a company, don’t assume that you will be ordering gold watches at a volume discount. Help your employees see themselves as integral parts of the solution. As an employee, take action at work as if your paycheck is directly related to your contribution (because, ultimately, it is!).

Never stop learning.

Employers should provide opportunities for employees to acquire new skills, knowledge and expertise that enhance them as individuals as well as enabling them to contribute at higher and higher levels. Employees should be seeking these opportunities continually, even if they must do it on their own. To borrow a title from another one of my blogs, your workers may be thinking “Play Me or Trade Me!”

Continually add value to your work.

“What have you done for me lately?” sounds very ungrateful, but it’s a Fact Of Work these days. The best way to stop advancing in your job is to simply do what is expected of you! Employers, create opportunities for the employee to contribute more to the position. Employees, never be completely satisfied with your performance. Always seek to improve. I’ve coined a term to describe this mindset: “Professional Dissatisfaction.”

Take charge of your attitude.

When I’ve been called in to work with employees, it is never on how to use a spreadsheet or fill out a time card. The focus: learning to “play well with others!”  Employers should seek to enhance the communication and relationsship skills of staff through modeling the appropriate behavior as well as providing training and support in these areas. Employees should invest time and energy into enhancing their interpersonal skills.

Is it a New Workplace? You bet it is!

STOP USING THE OLD RULES.

 

 

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Think back to your childhood (for some of us it may take longer than others, but please just do this for me). What was your “job” as a kid? I mean, before mowing lawns and paper routes.

Here’s the answer: your job was simply TO PLAY. That’s what kids do. That’s how they learn to socialize, develop physically, enhance their ability to communicate, etc.

So, kids “play for a living.”

One more question: How did you decide what to play? Why did you pick some activities and skip others?

I know how: you picked what was FUN. If it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t play!

Here are the hard, cold facts. At some point in each of our lives, some well-meaning adult came up to most of us and said knowingly and with a knitted brow, “OK. FUN time is over. It’s time to go TO WORK!” Ugh! Precious few people will feel good about that choice!

I have one more query for you: WHY do work and fun have to be mutually exclusive?! Why do you have to forgo enjoyment every time you get a paycheck?! Why must you choose between a pleasant experience and a job description?!

Allow me to introduce one of my personal guiding principles- I refuse to not have fun at work! Optimism-Breeds-Optimism

Please don’t misunderstand me. There are some things about my job that I would give up in a New York minute. Paperwork comes to mind right away. I’m honestly not that good at it! Every employment situation is likely to have some duties that you would love to eliminate. I call these tasks the “grown-up stuff.” Things you must do because you are told to. These duties can build character, demonstrate dependability and integrity. But if all you do at work is “grown-up stuff,” you may need to rethink your career goals.

When I place myself in situations where my work is primarily composed of activities that I actually enjoy (I have called this the move from Experience and Expertise to Enthusiasm in another blog ), I become the best employee I will ever be. The responsibility rests with me (and, ideally, my organization as well) to discover, communicate and implement my “best stuff” (another one of my favorite phrases) in my work and life. Then my company really gets their “money’s worth” out of me, and I cease being a “5 o’clock shadow!”

How about you?! Are you having FUN at WORK?  If so, great! If not, start to find it!

As I read of the paucity of loyalty in this crazy new workplace, the “gimme” attitude of employees and the lack of commitment that companies supposedly have to their workers, I am reminded of an extraordinarily practical book on this topic by Dan Pink. The name of this gem- DRIVE.

Here is my take on this impressive tome:

Subtitled “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” I must confess that Dan did not “surprise” me at all. That is not to take anything away from his conclusions, however. Simply stated, “there’s a gap between what science knows and business does.” Recounting early research that demonstrated clearly that the “carrot and stick” approach actually causes more damage than good, Pink makes a strong case for the need for a Motivation 3.0, where the reward is the activity itself (Motivation 1.0 was all about survival, Motivation 2.0 used rewards and punishments). Motivation 3.0 aligns itself with Type I personalities (Intrinsic motivation, experiencing what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow”), while Motivation 2.0 feeds the Type X personality (concerned with External rewards). Pink describes the three key components of Motivation 3.0 with clarity and insight, providing practical examples throughout the book. They are 1)Autonomy (in task, time, team and technique), 2) Mastery (a mindset, a continuous opportunity to learn and improve), and 3) Purpose (in goals, words and policies).

Ever the practical author, Pink completes this excellent book with suggested activities to achieve Type I for individuals, organizations, compensation and parents/teachers. The book closes with a reading list, examples of six business leaders who “get it,” a recap of his book (even in 140 character “twitterese”) and a glossary of the terms used in his espousal of Motivation 3.O, The reader is even introduced to a site to measure Type I or Type X behavior.

A truly exceptional book with extraordinary insights on what constitutes true motivation.

In his excellent tome “The Passion Plan,” Richard Chang writes of making decisions regarding your life and work from two sources: your Head or your Heart.

If your decisions move from your Head to your Heart (based solely on rational thought, logic, what “makes sense,” etc. and then considering your subjective side), you will ultimately experience Regret“I wonder what might have happened if I had done this or that…?” Or, according to Chang, if you stay with Head decisions, you’re likely experience Sadness, as you realize that you failed to consider your deeper needs and desires before taking action.

Heart decisions can have their pitfalls as well. As Chang notes, if you start from your Heart and stay with your Heart, you are likely to make Risky, totally impractical decisions, placing your future in danger as you never tempered your Heart ideas with logical considerations from your Head.

The best process, he suggests, is the Heart-Head journey. Identify and clarify your Passions, those deeply held beliefs and drives that make you the extraordinary person you are and then evaluate alternatives and drive your actions through your Head to seek out the best path(s) to achieve your Passions.

According to Chang, this Heart-Head process is the ultimate way to achieve what he calls “capital P Profit,” Profit that feeds the soul as well as the body! In the introduction to his book he quotes Benjamin Disraeli- “Man is only truly great when he acts from the passions.”

How about you? Do you know where your passions lie? If not, take action to discover them.

As I read a recent post on the plans of key employees to move on (http://talentmgt.com/industry_news/2010/September/5262/index.php) , I was reminded of Dan Pink’s excellent book, Drive.

Here is my take on this impressive tome:

Subtitled “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” I must confess that this excellent book did not “surprise” me at all. That is not to take anything away from Pink’s conclusions, however. Simply stated, “there’s a gap between what science knows and business does.” Recounting early research that demonstrated clearly that the “carrot and stick” approach actually causes more damage than good, Pink makes a strong case for the need for a Motivation 3.0, where the reward is the activity itself (Motivation 1.0 was all about survival, Motivation 2.0 used rewards and punishments). Motivation 3.0 aligns itself with Type I personalities (Intrinsic motivation, experiencing what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow”), while Motivation 2.0 feeds the Type X personality (concerned with External rewards). Pink describes the three key components of Motivation 3.0 with clarity and insight, providing practical examples throughout the book. They are 1) Autonomy (in task, time, team and technique), 2) Mastery (a mindset, painful experience and an “asymptote” – impossible to fully realize), and 3) Purpose (in goals, words and policies).

Ever the practical author, Pink completes this excellent book with suggested activities to achieve Type I for individuals, organizations, compensation and parents/teachers. The book closes with a reading list, examples of six business leaders who “get it,” a recap of his book (even in 140 character “twitterese”) and a glossary of the terms used in his espousal of Motivation 3.O, The reader is even introduced to a site to measure Type I or Type X behavior.

A truly exceptional book with extraordinary insights on what constitutes true motivation.

This blog comes from a recent article on my company’s website.

The question of who will take over the organization occurs at some time in the life of any successful business. Do we really have the talent to meet these new challenges? Will it take a fresh set of eyes and ears to look beyond our present situation? Is our organization too “in-bred” to continue to advance without looking outside for new talent?

Excellent questions, all. In an extraordinary article by Marcus Buckingham published some time ago in Fast Company (August 2001, “Marcus Buckingham Thinks Your Boss Has an Attitude Problem”), he suggested that we should “stop looking outside for help.” Buckingham posits the interesting and quite convincing proposition that the solutions to your company’s challenges may very well be best met by the people already in the organization.

This is where Career Pathing should be invited to join the game. Numerous articles, blogs, tweets, etc., are being written on the concept of “employee engagement.” Getting good people, growing good people, keeping good people. Identifying the individuals that I have called on earlier blogs “Stars.” Ask yourself, who is more aware of the challenges and needs within the organization, those facing them each day, or someone who has never been with the organization?

This is not to say that bringing in new talent is never a good idea, but it is not always the best strategy. Buckingham encourages us to look to our own people first. An exceptional book I recently reviewed, Drive, by Dan Pink, speaks of the source of true motivation: it’s not the result of getting a corner office, a fat paycheck and a personalized parking space. True, lasting motivation comes from within, helping individuals identify and cultivate their best skills and most deeply held values in their work and life.

Career Pathing shows the employee that the organization sees them as much more than a piece of equipment to be used in what Frederick Taylor in the early 1900’s called the “one best way.” Seeking to inspire, cultivate and challenge the employee through assessment, coaching and professional development creates an engaged team member that seeks to do “what they do best every day.”

To quote Buckingham’s article one more time: “Talent is a multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield will be.”

Are you looking within your organization for succession candidates and taking direct action to develop them? You should be!