I recently did some research on motivation and engagement. Specifically, researching ways to engage employees to inspire their own personal drive. One of the resources I used to learn more about motivation and incentives was Daniel Pink’s Drive. And, while I know his research is compelling, I also believe it leaves us unsure of how to effectively leverage the findings of Drive in our workplaces. My impression is that businesses are on two different ends of the spectrum, they are all in with an environment that leverages intrinsic motivators to drive people or are sitting back leveraging the traditional means that we’ve put in place like bonuses, recognition programs and annual assessments of performance - to name a few. I believe most of us are stuck when the roles are not very creative, personally meaningful or fluid. Our very redundant roles are not ripe for the intrinsic motivation play, or we don’t know how to apply the lesson.
The fix for the challenge seems simple, we need to know what will drive that motivation in each employee and we need to be flexible enough to offer it. To leverage the Drive principles in all areas of the organization means we need to learn from our organization and the people performing the roles. Because what I know for sure is people do things because of a payoff and everyone’s payoff is different. To really align to each employee’s drive, the conversations and approach need to be personal. We need to know what people desire as a payoff regularly to inspire engagement and motivation at the highest level. We can create a structure that promotes finding the payoff for everyone regardless of their role, the region they work or the regulation they face.
Engagement Reviews is the structure needed to find out important engagement information about each employee, individually. Engagement Reviews should replace annual reviews and become a much more useful tool for ensuring an understanding of performance/engagement. An engagement review is a monthly review of not only performance, but it’s also a conversation about engagement. Performance is an indication of engagement, then when you layer the conversations in, we get the context to understand what else is needed. Our employees own their engagement, they must decide that they’re committed to the company objective. However, we can help with their engagement by finding ways to match their goals and interests up with what the position needs.
But what do we do about annual reviews and raises? Don’t do them anymore, please! An engagement index can be used as a rating tool for performance and can be designed to help leaders host their employee engagement conversations. If your company wants to continue to give annual increase, dole it out based on your engagement index results. Leaders can host conversations with each employee to discuss their current engagement and what the individual needs for personal motivation. Over time, you’ll learn what rewards work and what align to the individual’s true needs to feel that intrinsic motivation. You may also find new ways within each business group to add autonomy through these discussions. Through Engagement Reviews you’ll have a better pulse on your employee’s engagement, you could predict attrition and your performance discussions will be rich and meaningful.