Tag Archives: Douglas McGregor

Why the Level of Employee Engagement is Not Improving

Recent studies by major HR consulting firms have shown that the level of employee engagement is somewhere around 30 percent and it hasn’t improved in recent years. The reason that is hasn’t improved is that the overwhelming majority of businesses insist on using a management model that actually prevents employees from becoming engaged with their work. It’s often referred to a Management by the Numbers or Management by Command and Control. As Douglas McGregor, author of The Human Side of Enterprise, put it more than a half-century ago, the implicit logic to this method is “…that in order to get people to direct their efforts toward organizational objectives, management must tell them what to do, judge how well they have done, and reward or punish them accordingly.” The problem with this method is that it turns employees off–they strongly resent being told what to do, how to do it and then being judged by how well they did it by a boss or manager. When employees are turned off, they cannot become engaged with their work. This is why Management by the Numbers prevents people from becoming engaged.

As Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Continuing to use a management model that turns employees off is not going to improve the level of employee engagement. As McGregor put it, “The real need is for new theory, changed assumptions, (and) more understanding of the nature of human behavior in organizational settings.”

My new book, The Engagement Formula, presents a leadership model that incorporates new theory, changed assumptions and more understanding of the nature of human behavior in organizational settings. The model consists of three simple steps that guarantee full (100 percent) employee engagement. http://rossreck.com/

Douglas McGregor Concluded that a New Methodolgy for Dealing with People at Work was Needed

In 1960, Douglas McGregor concluded that a new methodology for dealing with people at work that was based on new thinking was necessary if businesses were going to succeed in tapping into the unutilized potential of their employees.  He knew the effect he wanted to achieve; he called it the Principle of Integration (today we call it employee engagement)—creating a set of conditions where employees can actually achieve their own goals best by directing their efforts to the success of the organization. In other words, the harder people work for the success of the business, the more satisfaction they experience regarding their personal needs.  This makes coming to work and working hard a “win-win” situation.  The problem, however, is that McGregor couldn’t figure out a methodology to make this happen.  This is where The Engagement Formula comes in.

In 1960, Douglas McGregor Laid the Foundation for The Engagement Formula

In 1960, Douglas McGregor laid a solid foundation for The Engagement Formula in his book, The Human Side of Enterprise.  Keep in mind, the term “employee engagement” was not in common usage at the time, but McGregor was fully aware of the low level of employee engagement that existed even then.  As he put it, “Many managers would agree that the effectiveness of their organizations would be at least doubled if they could discover how to tap into the unrealized potential present in their human resources.”   He reasoned that the traditional management model, which he referred to as management by direction and control denies individuals the opportunity to satisfy certain needs at work that are important to them.  As a result, using this management model actually prevents businesses from tapping in to the full potential of their employees.

A New Management Model vs. a New Management Style

I’ve received a number of emails recently saying something to the effect of, “I can’t wait to see the new management “style” you’ve been talking about.  Just to set the record straight, I discovered a completely new “method” or “model” of managing, not a new style of managing.  Style deals with things like “hard vs. soft” or “people oriented vs. work oriented” without changing the fundamental framework or “model” that’s used for dealing with people.  As Douglas McGregor put it more than 50 years ago in his excellent book, The Human Side of Enterprise, a new management style is the equivalent of putting old wine in a new bottle–the look is different, but the outcome is the same.  My new management model is a complete change in this fundamental framework–not just a new bottle, but new wine as well.  This model is exciting because it captures all the magic contained in the success stories of  companies like Southwest Airlines, Google, USAA, JetBlue, Zappos, SAS and W. L. Gore & Associates.

We’ve Been Searching for a New Management Model for a Long Time

Fifty years ago, Douglas McGregor concluded that a new management model was necessary if businesses were going to succeed in tapping into the unutilized potential of their employees.  He knew the effect he wanted to achieve; he called it the Principle of Integration where the job of a manager is to create a set of conditions such that employees could achieve their own goals best by directing their efforts to the success of the business.  In other words, the harder employees work for the success of the business, the more satisfaction they experience regarding their personal needs.  The problem, however, is that McGregor couldn’t figure out a management model to make this happen.  The purpose of my new book is to finish what McGregor started.