ConversationStorm: Engaging and Motivating People

Recently, a group came together to discuss a very interesting topic: the engagement and motivation of employees.  The following questions guided the group through our conversation:

  • What is the difference between motivation and engagement?
  • How does merger and acquisition activities impact engagement and motivation?
  • Is motivation something that can really happen, or can we really only demotivate?
  • Isn’t motivation something that can only come from within?
  • How does the culture of management impact engagement and motivation?

The conversation was very energetic with lots of great ideas.  The group pulled together a summary of recommendations that resonated with them.

A.  It is helpful to understand the difference between engagement and motivation.  After looking to examples and the dictionary, we settled on the following definitions to help us as we continued with our discussion:

  • Motivation:  the reason why someone acts in a particular way
  • Engagement:  doing something you say you are going to do

B.  It really helps to give people a chance to vent about things that are causing them to struggle.  Use all-hands meetings to raise issues that seem to be generating concerns.  Even though it might turn into a “bitch session,” it is better to have an open dialog about these topics.  After that, it is easier to understand and be compassionate about their situation.  Gather a smaller group to help address items that can be sorted.

C.  There is so much change underway these days for everyone.  It is normal operations now to have something new in the environment every day.  In many ways, this is the real reason we are talking about engagement and motivation in the first place.  With mergers and acquisitions, leadership changes and many operational initiatives underway at the same time, it is easy to see why people struggle to stay engaged.  It is easy to write and hard to do:  the real essence of leadership in this environment is to help align what is right for the company with what is right for the employee.

D.  Keeping employees engaged and motivated involves having a sincere understanding of and compassion for the work and environment that they work within.  Be considerate and remember that adopting change takes time.  For executives leading initiatives, there is tremendous pressure to complete a project on time.  However, keeping a balance between forward momentum and allowing time for adaptation is very important.

E.  Finally, it is easy to forget that managers are impacted by change too.  Help them consume the communication and training as well.  Keeping them engaged and motivated is just as important to the success of your initiatives.  Find out what their challenges are and what they need to be successful.

Best of luck keeping members of your organization motivated and engaged.  If you have thoughts that you would like to share, please do so below.

One thought on “ConversationStorm: Engaging and Motivating People

  1. I would add “be authentic”. Care about your employees. Help them to understand the change and whenever possible design the change so that it benefits you and the employee.

    It’s not uncommon for us to add a field we want our employees to fill out to a form. We design the form for our benefit, so we can track some “thing”.

    Pausing to consider how we can make the employees life better at the same time or to more clearly tie the field to value (think gamification) can be the difference between frustration and embracing change.

    Employees look for meaning in what they do and we can help relate actions to purpose if we take the time.

    Also – worth watching: Dan Ariely’s Ted Talk on What makes us feel good about our work: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_what_makes_us_feel_good_about_our_work.html

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