Beyond Motivation: How to Engage Employees To Boost The Economy

English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone...

According to the latest Gallup survey on American employee’s productivity conducted in 201,  only 29% of employees were engaged or involved and enthusiastic about their job. In contrast 71 % of full-time workers, were “not engaged” including 20% miserable or actively disengaged. These findings are really shocking  and very disheartening. Miserable employees are simply ignored, they are disconnected from the company’s goals, often scared to lose their job, taking sometimes additional workload from a colleague who has been laid-off.

Can sustainable organizations ignore employee’ s morale ?  Cutting costs has direct impact on the bottom line but not necessarily in the desired way:

“miserable employees create miserable customers” 

For the most part the recovery of the American economy is dependent on the innovation capacity of America Inc.  If employees are not intrinsically motivated chances are very high that they are not creative as well. and won’t work hard enough as passionate people do according to  Steve Jobs in a video about the rules for success.  I cannot agree more and I have observed the power of passion in people at any level and any function of organizations and across cultures.

Passion is putting you in a state of “flow” where you ignore fatigue or hunger because you are so engaged by what you do that you ignore the time you spend on a particular activity, you are intrinsically rewarded by what you do and truly happy. The concept of “flow” has been introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a psychologist making connections between satisfaction and daily activities in his book: ” Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience“.

Being passionate is coming from the inside-out. You can break somebody’s motivation  very easily but it is very hard for leaders to inspire people to give happily the best of what they have to offer if they don’t want to and don’t have trust in the management.

High performance organizations know that engaged employees drive customer value and business performance. Good examples of such companies are Google or Zappos with its CEO’s vision of putting his people first.


Gallup measures employees’ engagement by collecting the answers of the following 12 survey items listed bellow.

If you want to engage people you need to provide what it takes for them to say YES to a maximum of the questions:

  • Q01. I know what is expected of me at work.
  • Q02. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  • Q03. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  • Q04. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • Q05. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  • Q06. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  • Q07. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  • Q08. The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.
  • Q09. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  • Q10. I have a best friend at work.
  • Q11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  • Q12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

The Three ‘E’s of Engagement: Engage, Empower, Enable:

  • Engage: leaders must provide a clear view of the company’s future, connect the company values with the individual life purpose,  identify individual contribution to a higher level than self .  Employees who feel good about themselves and think they belong to a team get the intrinsic motivation  to deliver performance.
  • Empower: Let people decide how to set goals, how to  get the expected results.  Increase their personal power in making decisions at all level of the organizations. The leaders’ role  is  to coach and mentor individuals and teams to remove self-limiting beliefs, provide immediate feedbacks and develop strengths while minimizing the impact of weaknesses
  • EnableProvide highly personalized support and enough resources.  Lead  teams based on matching  personal communication, behavior and management styles of each team member. Provide talent development programs.

How Do You Measure Employee’s Engagement and Creativity ?

What Is You Recipe To Stimulate Creativity and Innovation In Your Company ?

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About Anne Egros

Zest and Zen is a blog about Expat Life Challenges, Global Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Change Psychology, Life Transitions
This entry was posted in American Culture, change, Coaching, communication, Executive Coaching, Global Economy, Global Executives, HR Management, leadership, professional development, teamwork, Trust and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Beyond Motivation: How to Engage Employees To Boost The Economy

  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and
    wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed
    and I hope you write again very soon!

  2. Pingback: How to Increase Employee Engagement within the Government - Government Software and Solutions

  3. Pingback: How to Increase Employee Engagement within the Government - CSEDEV

  4. Great Anne. the short sighted management, typical of these last years is creating misery rather than wealth. Mostly due to the poor attntions to the themes you focus in this post. HR become just a subsidiary of administration: efficiency and cost cutting was the only things done. Human capital is the key for success in industry now. Everything else it’s just cost competition where BRIC will win! thanks

    • Hi Fabrizio thanks for the comment , I totally agree. If America Inc wants to become a commodity and compete only on labor costs, then the financial crisis will only get deeper. Organic growth through true innovation and not via costs cutting only is key for our future. Yes it takes time to innovate and many years have already been wasted on the wrong vision and goals.

  5. ResumeSmith says:

    Another great post, Anne! Over the past few years in HR, I have seen employee engagement decline dramatically. At one company I witnessed a collective disengagement process and subsequent depression epidemic that was uncanny. Employees who have disengaged often feel trapped in their jobs and the company’s productivity suffers.

    I think many company leaders either forget, or never acknowledged, that employee engagement needs to be a corporate priority. I agree with your three main points. It is incredibly de-motivating to be asked to do a job, and then denied the resources or permission to do it properly.

  6. No, you wrote a beautiful piece, I think I was/am tired and not reading it clearly. You explained it great! And you are right: Enabling is different than motivating. Enabling is offering the tools and giving them a chance. Then it’s up to them to do it. Motivating is more of a constant reassurance that things are going well. Probably better served for the less independent thinkers and doers.

    You’ve got me thinking and posting, girl! 🙂 Great stuff. Let’s debate some more another day. I’ve got to get some sleep!


  7. Joel Carter says:

    And who can afford miserable employees and Customers? All of us and our employee representatives are the only image many of our customers ever see. The survey and tips are great reminders of the importance making the business environment memorable and desirable from both employee and customer point of view.
    Thank you Anne

  8. Hi Anne, I had to go back to your post to see if you wrote about ‘motivation’. I guess you did under ’empower’. It is a skill to motivate your employees and to find out what motivates them. If you have moms working for you, think daycare and healthcare. Dads, think similar, as well as paternity leave. Young crowd, think health club membership. Award/reward great ‘office behavior’ and set milestones to hit. Motivation is a constant (e)motion.

    It’s very powerful, too!

    Great post, great thinking. Love your blog. 🙂

    • Thanks Dorien for the comment. I did not mention motivation in this article, By saying “beyond motivation” I assumed that people are intrinsically motivated but they still need to be engaged knowing that WHAT they do is aligned with an inspiring corporate vision, shared values and know how they contribute. Empowerment is to let people decide about the HOW they get results. If I did not misunderstand you, What you are talking about is under “enable”: giving the right resources, working environment and individual support based on individual preferences. I worked for an advertising companies in New York and it was not rare to see the creative people working at night, no tie, long hair. Google give 20% of employees time working on their own ideas and projects. Others have a nap room, fitness center or allow telecommuting. One size fits all doesn’t work to drive passionate people. Hope I clarified my thoughts or shall I rewrite the article ?

  9. Well you could always pay more..that would help. Honestly, I see some well written advice here, but I can’t help but wonder, if you don’t love what you do, or enjoy it, motivations will have to come from within.

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