“Create caring and robust connections between every employee and their work, customers, leaders, managers, and the organization to achieve results that matter to everyone in this sentence.” –David Zinger
Rusty Lindquist is the founder and CEO of Life Engineering. A few years ago, he created a model of employee engagement that enumerated 16 essentials. The following list and explanations are drawn from “16 building blocks that bolster employee engagement,” by Lauren Stead. Here are the first eight essentials. The remaining eight essentials will be covered in Tip #760.
- Objective– knowing where you’re going and why you should care about it.
People need to know where they’re going. Otherwise, they’ll be aimless and lack motivation to keep going forward, simply spinning their wheels in place. Rusty explained that if you were just set at the top of a mountain and left to roam, you would accomplish far less than the person who’s put at the base and has the summit pointed out to them as the goal. Make sure managers are sharing what the company’s mission and objectives are with their teams, to keep everyone working toward that summit.
- Alignment– capability to do work and succeed at it.
Managers need to find the sweet spot between the three factors that make up an employee’s alignment: competency, opportunity, and passion. In other words, employees need to actually be able to do what’s set before them, have the chance to move forward afterward, and enjoy what they’re doing. If something is off with these three factors, chances are the employees will be under-performing.
- Plan– knowing what the next step is or how to move forward on your career path.
People need to know what to do next and have a clear picture of a path they can follow. They can be sold on their objective and feel comfortable in the company, but managers need to make sure there’s no confusion on how to achieve that objective. Break down future goals into achievable steps.
- Space– having what you need to move forward.
Get out of employees’ way so they can create and accomplish personal goals. Space can mean having autonomy, ownership, permission, trust, influence, or just the right tools.
- Contribution– getting things done and feeling like you’re making a difference.
People need to feel that what they’re doing is making a difference. The moment someone feels that they don’t matter, they begin to under-perform. If someone isn’t contributing, it’s a good time to evaluate the other engagement elements to see if something is out of alignment.
- Score– keeping score of your contributive value.
Progress and impact need to be measured in some way. If a sense of progress is removed, people tend to contribute less value overall. Rusty compared it to playing a game with yourself. There’s no sense of accomplishment or context if you’re just racking up points by yourself.
- Momentum– having a sense of moving forward and inevitability.
Momentum may drop when a project is completed or canceled. Before a new project starts up to take the old one’s place, there’s a time where there’s no momentum. While periodic breaks are good, make sure managers are keeping employees focused on the overall summit.
- Investment– feeling like you have skin in the game.
This is a factor you can notice outside of the workplace. For example, consider a stamp incentive program at coffee shops. Each time you visit, you’re given a stamp and when you achieve a certain number you’re given a reward. These types of programs instill in you a sense of investment, that you’ve potentially lost out on if you quit now. This is the same sort of feeling employees need to feel from their managers.
Which are most important to you?
How does your company compare?
May your learning be sweet.