3 Deadly Sins That Kill Employee Engagement

There’s a problem plaguing the American workforce, and that problem is employee engagement.

New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Daniel Pink addressed a captivated crowd at Dec. 10’s Avaya Engages Silicon Valley on the epidemic sweeping the American workforce: disengagement.

The state of the American workplace is bleak at best. A Gallup poll discovered that 70 percent of U.S. workers are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. The Gallup study estimates this costs the U.S. economy up to $550 billion yearly.

On the flip side, employee engagement leads to pervasively positive outcomes. Engaged workers show higher levels of commitment and satisfaction, and create value for themselves and their companies. At its essence, employee engagement leads to improved retention, quality and productivity and–the bottom line you’ve been waiting for–increased company revenue, profits and margins.

So, without further ado, here are the three deadly sins that diminish employee engagement…

No. 1: Paying your employees too little. Employee engagement starts before your employees even walk through the door.

“Pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table,” Pink advised.

Carrot-and-stick motivators–dangling monetary rewards over employees–are so passé. Old-school “if/then” rewards (if you achieve X, you will get Y) may at times be effective for simple, task-oriented work but, as a whole, don’t inspire the complex, creative and conceptual work that propels a company forward.

If you pay employees enough to take the issue of money off the table, you grant them the autonomy to tap into deeper, intrinsic motivators, which lead to heightened engagement and productivity.

No. 2: Managing your employees too much.

“Take management off its pedestal and think of it as it really is,” Pink challenged the crowd at Avaya Engages Silicon Valley.

Management is merely a technology, a directed way to organize people into productivity capabilities. The best sort of management isn’t micro–in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The most effective management style inspires and fuels self-direction. Pink boils it down simply: If you’re truly engaged in something, you get there under your own power. He suggested the solution to employee engagement is threefold: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

The 3 Deadly Sins that Kill Employee Engagement

Workers desire the ability to direct and control their own lives. They want to improve their skills, grow and do something that truly matters. That yearning for purpose brings us to our next cardinal sin…

No. 3: Keeping it all about the business. Companies make a big mistake when they keep it all about the business and don’t bring in a sense of humanity and purpose. Employees seek personal fulfilment and desire to do a job in service of something larger than themselves.

When companies are able to connect their employees’ work to people and values, that’s when magic happens. Take Avaya, for example–the company brings military families together, exceeds environmental goals and ensures safer schools for tomorrow’s Futuremakers… and these are points of pride for many employees!

What do you think is the greatest sin of employee engagement? Join the conversation by commenting below.

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