An article titled: “Memo to Employees: The Boss Is Watching,” appeared in today’s Wall Street Journal. The article discussed the issue of electronically tracking employees behavior at work. This article takes the approach that employee ranks are filled with “trouble makers” who are lazy, dishonest, untrustworthy, prone to “goofing off” and need to be kept on a “tight leash.” There is, however, another way of looking at this situation. In reality, the things mentioned are actually symptoms of poor leadership, a culture that fails to engage employees and sloppy hiring practices. If business owners and managers would install a culture that engaged its employees, hired only those people who are going find meaning in the kind of work being done at their particular company and supported their employees rather than trying to control them, there would be no need to look over their shoulders with tracking technology. Instead, their employees would come to work every day excited about giving every bit of energy, creativity and passion to performing their jobs. This would dramatically increase the levels of productivity, customer service, employee loyalty and profitability. One of the lessons I have learned during my 30-plus years as a business consultant is that you can’t achieve excellence through control, but you can create an environment where employees give it to you voluntarily. To see this in action, check out the likes of Google, JetBlue, W. L. Gore & Associates and Zappos.
According to an article by Sophie Quinton which appeared in a March 23, 2013 issue of The Atlantic.com, the average American retail cashier makes $20,230 per year. On the other hand, entry level employees at convenience store and gas station chain, Quik Trip start at an annual salary of around $40,000 plus benefits. As a result, Quick Trip’s sales per labor hour are two-thirds higher than the average convenience store chain and its sales per square foot of store space are more than 50 percent higher.
The article goes on to say, “Entry-level hires at QuikTrip are trained for two full weeks before they start work, and they learn everything from how to order merchandise to how to clean the bathroom. Most store managers are promoted from within, giving employees a reason to do well. ‘They can see that if you work hard, if you’re smart, the opportunity to grow within the company is very, very good,’ says company spokesman Mike Thornbrugh.”
The lesson here is that if you want to clean up in the convenience store business, you have to pay above the market so that you can attract and retain good people and you have to take good care of them. Pretty simple stuff.
The truth of the matter is that it’s impossible to motivate people at work. The reason is: they’re already motivated. They come to work every day motivated to pursue their self-interest—the satisfaction of needs that are important to them. The only thing the leadership of a business can do if it wants its employees to perform at a high level is to engage the motivation that’s already there—to create a situation where the harder people work toward pursuing the satisfaction of their own needs, the harder they work toward the goals of the organization. Companies with a high level of employee engagement understand this. Instead of trying to motivate their employees with traditional means like authority, rewards and punishment, they’ve created environments where employees are free to be themselves, have fun and follow their passion (the motivation that’s already there inside them). This is why the underlying managerial philosophy at SAS is: “Give people the tools they need to do their job and then get out of their way.” At W. L. Gore & Associates, there are no titles, no orders and no bosses. As company founder Bill Gore once said, “We don’t manage people here, they manage themselves.”
This very powerful story was sent to my by a friend of mine and I’d like to share it with you.
“The last company I worked for was strong for the first few years and then started declining once we took on investor money and got away from our core values. At one point, the founder (no longer the CEO at this point) sent me 2 graphs. One was titled “Revenue”, and the other did not have a title. The 2 charts were very similar. They had spikes around the same times and dips around the same times. He asked me what I thought the second graph was, and I could not figure it out for the life of me. Finally, he told me that the second chart was the number of posts on the ‘iRock Board.’ The iRock Board was a little module that I added to our in-house software that allowed employees to post messages about coworkers that went above and beyond. The 2 graphs showed that when our employees were posting lots of compliments, revenue went up. When the iRock posts started to decline, so did our revenue.
Kind-of makes you think… :-).”
Albert Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Business have been managing their employees the same way for more than a half century and the level of employee engagement is still only 23 to 31 percent. Clearly, change is needed before the level of employee engagement can significantly improve. The Engagement Formula, which I recently discovered, is the key to making the necessary change happen. This formula contains three simple steps that guarantee full (100 percent) employee engagement. Think of what it would mean to the success of any business if all its employees were working at their full potential. If you’re interesting in learning more, here’s the link: http://rossreck.com/
Employee engagement is extremely to the success of a business because it’s the primary driver of its financial performance. At the same time, research by Towers Perrin and BlessingWhite point out that only 21 to 31percent of the global workforce is engaged with their work. Clearly, something is very wrong with the way businesses deal with their employees or the level of employee engagement would be much closer to 100 percent than it is.
My recent book, The Engagement Formula presents a completely new methodology for working with employees that guarantees full employee engagement. If a business organization follows this formula, 100 percent of its employees will become engaged with their work—all working at their full potential. Think of what it would mean to the success of any organization—profit or non-profit—if it could get all of its employees engaged with their work. If you’re interested in looking at it, here’s the link: http://rossreck.com/
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/
It seems like every time the business media features a company with high level of employee engagement, it refers to the company’s methodology for dealing with its employees as being new and innovative. In reality, all companies with a high level of employee engagement do the same basic things: They hire qualified people who mesh tightly with the company’s culture, they pay them well, treat them well and then get out of their way and let them do their job. In return for this special treatment, employees keep their company ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation and they see to it that the company’s customers are never disappointed. This results in higher levels of repeat and referral business which translates into significant increases in market share. This is pretty simple stuff when you think about it; not rocket science.
My new book, The Engagement Formula, provides a common sense blueprint that guarantees full employee engagement. If a business organization follows this blueprint, 100 percent of its employee will become engaged with their work–all working at their full potential. Think of what this could mean to the success of any business–profit or non-profit. For more information, please click on the following link: http://rossreck.com/
Many business leaders today want to have it both ways: On one hand they want loyal hard working employees who are willing to do whatever it takes to make the business successful and, on the other hand, they want to pay them the least amount possible. The problem with this is that paying low wages creates distractions for employees which means they cannot give their full attention and effort to performing their jobs. For example, if employees aren’t making enough money to support themselves, they will worry and fret over how they’re going to make ends meet which means they can’t give their full attention to performing their job. This is why companies with a high level of employee engagement such as SAS, JetBlue, Google, NetApp and Southwest Airlines make it a point to provide their employees with compensation that is at or above their industry average and a benefit package that’s fairly generous. They want to minimize these distractions so employees can focus on performing their jobs. As stated on the SAS web site, “They (employees) should be freed from many of the distractions of day-to-day life, so they can focus on doing their best work.” Similarly, Eric Schmidt, Executive Vice Chairman of Google had this to say when discussing Google’s philosophy regarding employee benefits. “The goal is to strip away everything that gets in our employees’ way (of doing their best work).”
My new book, The Engagement Formula, details the role that equitable pay plays in achieving full employee engagement. For more information, please click on the following link: http://rossreck.com/
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.