Employee Work Passion: Take a Personal Approach for Best Results

Deciding whether a company’s work environment is engaging or not is a highly personal experience according to researchers at The Ken Blanchard Companies.  In a new article for Chief Learning Officer magazine the researchers identify that employees experience their environment differently—even when they are looking at the same set of circumstances.

Take, for example, the idea of Connectedness with Colleagues, one of twelve factors identified in the research as contributing to a motivating work environment.  For some team members, sharing updates on a monthly basis meets their needs for feeling informed and in the loop.  For others, meeting anything less than once a day leaves them feeling isolated.  If a group has a team norm of meeting once a week—a pretty standard practice—how do people from each camp feel about the team’s performance in staying connected?  Chances are that members of the first group feel that that the team is excellent at connectedness because it communicates four times more than they personally feel is necessary, while members from the second group rate the team low on this aspect because it only meets once a week, which is less than what they are expecting.

So how does a leader deal with all of the different expectations that people have in the workplace?  The answer is to see colleagues and direct reports as distinct, individual people with different needs and expectations.  Here are three tips for getting started:

  1. Recognize that people have different needs, desires, and expectations.  There is a tendency to believe that everyone perceives the environment the same and has the same needs and desires.  The reality is that each of us sees things differently based on our beliefs and past experiences. 
  2. Explore these differences.  Build some time into your next one-on-one discussion to discover the degree to which your people are personally experiencing growth, autonomy, connectedness, and collaboration in the organization.  For team members, include an agenda item to discuss these elements of an engaging workplace at an upcoming meeting.
  3. Look for early wins.  While some factors will be best addressed at an organizational level, there are still many factors that can be addressed locally inside of a department or team.  Identify what those factors are and how they can be addressed.

Employee engagement is a hot topic these days and there are a lot of ways to approach it.  For leaders looking at improving overall engagement in their organizations, it’s important to keep in mind that the process is also intensely personal.  To learn more about the Blanchard research on this topic, be sure to check out Employee Work Passion: A New Look at Engagement in this month’s Chief Learning Officer magazine.

3 thoughts on “Employee Work Passion: Take a Personal Approach for Best Results

  1. Yes, employee engagement is a hot topic these days, mainly because the level of involvement in today’s organizations is pretty low. This has a corresponding effect of low performance, which is every company’s nightmare! I agree, the personal approach is a way to get results, but there are a few other ways an organization can get to this. I came across these in a book by Vineet Nayar called ‘Employees First, Customers Second’ and just thought I could share it with you. One of these principles is what he calls the concept of the ‘Inverted Pyramid’. Here, he explains that organizational hierarchy must be turned upside down, making the employees directly responsible for customer satisfaction. That would not only get them more engaged and involved in their tasks, but also make them more directly accountable for rewards from customer satisfaction as well. Of course, there are multiple ways to look at it, but this was just one of them!

    • Hi Kavita,
      Thank you for highlighting Vineet Nayar’s new book, Employees First, Customers Second. I just learned about this new book yesterday and previewed a couple of pages over at Amazon.com.

      The book looks great and I’m looking forward to buying copy this weekend. I think that Mr. Nayar’s recommendation to “invert the organizational pyramid” is right on target and a great strategy for helping to improve employee engagement scores in an organization.

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