Engaged people are the difference that makes the difference
By Steve Garber
Everything is cyclical. When it is an employer’s market, layoffs occur, the perks tighten, and advertising and marketing dollars dry up, just to name a few. If the layoff happens in the paper – or on the news – it’s a recession. If it happens in our family, it feels more like a depression.
We’ve heard it all before. When it’s a robust market with growth and expansion – when good-quality people are hard to come by – the cost of hiring goes up. People leave for better opportunities. We bemoan the lack of quality help. Money helps, but more and more, it is not the answer, especially with millennials. They want more. They want purpose. They want meaning. They want growth – personal growth. And, even more challenging for some of us old guard, they believe that there is more to life than work. They want a life!
We are in a very robust market in South Florida. We see skylines of cranes, traffic that is insane, restaurants that are full. The moans of “we can’t find good people” are louder and more prevalent.
What can we do? Engage! Be fully present and aware of what motivates and demotivates your most costly and important assets: your people. You are the difference that makes the difference in your home, your work, your life. Be aware of not only what you do and say, but – perhaps even more importantly –
how you do and say it.
There are many theories and lots of data on engagement at work. Gallup’s Q12 Employee Engagement Survey, which is written about in the book, “First, Break All the Rules,” is a well-proven tool. For me, its most important contribution is causing lots of people to think about the concept of engagement. I often paraphrase the essence of what I learned from the book as: “My relationship with my manager and my colleagues is my experience of my job!”
So, what are most of the people motivated by?
- Care! Know, care about and express appreciation for your people. We all want to be a person, not a number. This is basic, but real. Know their names (as many as you can), what they do for you, and show that you care about their lives and families.
- Purpose. Feel it. Live it. What’s your why? Help everyone find their own sense of purpose. Be sure your company has one as well. WHY does this company exist? If it’s solely profit, you won’t have passion, and people solely motivated by profit – by definition – can be “bought.” You sure won’t keep the millennials! Don’t get me wrong: Without profit, the businesses won’t survive. And I love the finer things in life, for sure, but money cannot be your reason to exist. And, when there is an aligned purpose, there is almost always profit.
- Develop. Help everyone become masters of their craft – and of themselves. When people believe that they will learn and grow as people and as professionals, they are engaged, appreciative and loyal. Most of us love to do what we do really well. We want to get better. The best of us never stop thirsting for improvement. And it’s the best of us that you really want!
Trust is the key ingredient to all relationships. Empower, trust and grant the autonomy that will help your people and your business grow. Care, be clear on your purpose, help your people learn and grow and trust them to do their jobs. In down times, people will go the extra mile. And in the good times, they will be more likely to stay and outperform your competition. Engaged people ARE your secret sauce. ¿
Steve Garber is director of Third Level Ltd. Contact him at 561.752.5505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.