[Editor’s Note – Next week we plan to highlight yours and our personal favourite news items from 2014. We’d love for you to let us know yours. Please tell us the ones you found most insightful and we’ll include them in the last news roundup of the year.]

Each week we scour the web to find you the most informative, inspirational, and insightful articles about Employee Engagement, Motivation, Leadership, Followership, Strategy and Culture.  Then we turn them into bite-size chunks, so you get the essentials without any fluff. Here are this week’s must reads;

London’s Georgian House is a Wellness Award Finalist in inaugural Employee Engagement Awards – 9th December

The Georgian House, a four star family run boutique hotel in central London, has been announced as a finalist in the Wellness Award category for The Employee Engagement Awards (EE Awards). The awards, in their first year, officially recognise businesses across the UK that strive to do things differently and put their workforce at the heart of their operations.

The Wellness Award will be given to the organisation able to provide the most compelling evidence that their strategy for health and wellbeing in the workplace not only works, but has also created a clear and measurable return on investment and increased employee engagement.

Judges will be looking for clear, measurable outcomes but also an innovative strategy and execution that may include uses of reward and recognition, internal communications, wellness and flexible working.

High on the agenda at the Georgian House is the welfare and happiness of its employees with the management all taking a strong interest in employee development and nurturing hospitality talent. This culture has resulted in low staff turnover and a fiercely loyal team of professionals who ensure the hotel’s service and customer experience are consistently excellent.

Serena von der Heyde, general manager and owner of the Georgian House, said, “We are delighted to have been shortlisted as a finalist for the Wellness Award. Staff satisfaction is one of the key elements that make up the core of our hotel. To offer exceptional customer service to our guests, my team need to be happy in their positions, feel empowered to make a real difference to our customers and know that their hard work and passion are the cornerstones of the business.

“Through initiatives such as our staff happiness survey, which formed the foundation and strategy of monthly training sessions, I have ensured the team have a voice within the hotel. Our staff training sessions cover a broad range of topics including body language, communication, the customer journey and the power of friendships in the workplace, all of which encourage the staff to communicate better, build stronger working relationships and ultimately lead to a higher level of job satisfaction and performance.”

Matt Manners, managing director, The Employee Engagement Awards, added, “We are excited by the calibre of businesses and finalists we have in our first year. Each (in their own way) is an example to every other business in the UK that aspires to engage better with their employees and realise the extensive pay-off, such as happier employees, deeper bonds of loyalty, greater efficiency, better wellbeing and providing an enhanced customer experience. To say I am excited to see who wins each category come January is an understatement.”

Results of the inaugural EE Awards will be revealed on 28th January 2015 at a ceremony being held at The Brewery, London.

The Conversations You Need to Really Boost Employee Engagement – 9th December

David Lee, founder of HumanNature@work, proposes that one of the most powerful tools managers can use for engaging employees is individual one-to-one conversations. In this article, he makes some practical suggestions on how you can have those conversations, using three different types of conversations.

The “Start, Stop, Continue, Increase” Conversation

The principle here is to ask you employees four questions:

  • What’s one thing that I do that is really helpful in terms of bringing out the best in you that I should keep doing?
  • What’s one thing I do that irritates or frustrates you, so that would be the one thing I should STOP doing, if I want to bring out the best in you?
  • What’s one thing you recommend I START doing, because by doing this, I will make the biggest positive impact in your work experience and in my ability to bring out the best in you?
  • What’s something I do that is really positive, but I could be doing it a lot more?

Wisely, Lee suggests priming your team with these questions, to give them time to consider their responses.

The “What Would Be Most Helpful?” Conversation

Lee proposes using a more situation-specific questions in some circumstances, to check out how well something you did was received.

He gives this example: “When I asked you to go search out that difficult answer, was that helpful or would it have been better for me to have teamed you up with Joe?” He points out that tis type of question gives valuable insights into how to approach each employee (because one does not fit all).

This type of conversation is a great way to foster respect, as it demonstrates your intention to manage in a way thetas helpful to the employee. Lee also describes how this opens to feedback can totally transform relationships with team colleagues.

The “What would You Like to Know About Me?” Conversation

This works well with new employees, giving them an opportunity to get you as their manager . It also subtly sends the message that if you are being open and direct, they can be so as well.

Lee gives an example of this type of conversation: “…I’d like to have what I call a “What Would You Like to Know About Me?” conversation with you… This is where you ask anything you want about what I look for most in my team members, my core values, specific business goals, things that drive ME crazy as a supervisor … that sort of thing. So with that in mind, what would you like to know about me that you would find helpful?”

Lee concludes by suggesting that you send each member of your team a copy of the article so that they can get a feel for why you’re holding this conversation. But ultimately, it’s worth just getting on with and having a go.

Hiring Wisdom: 10 Commandments of Employee Engagement – 8th December

It’s almost Christmas time, and it seems that everywhere there is a “Top 10” for something or other. So not wanting to be outdone, here is one set of suggestions for a Top 10 Commandments for Employee Engagement.

[Editor’s comment – I’ve abbreviated them here to ‘headlines’ – there is more detail in therein article if you want it].

  1. Thou Shalt Differentiate Yourself – What do you offer that other employers don’t? Publicise it.
  2. Thou Shalt Make Sure They Feel In on Things — Never let the reason be, “Because I said so.”
  3. Thou Shalt Recognise Every Job Well Done — Make the recognition immediate, specific and personal.
  4. Thou Shalt Give the Gift of Your Undivided Attention – Regularly, set aside some time for a meeting or lunch with each of your key players (the ones you would hate to lose). [Editor’s Comment – I’d argue you should do this with every team member, not just the key players!].
  5. Thou Shalt Make Work Fun — There’s no reason work can’t be fun and lots of good reasons why it should be!
  6. Thou Shalt Express Your Appreciation — What you focus on increases, so focus on what you appreciate.
  7. Thou Shalt Re-evaluate Your Rules — Make sure every rule is necessary and that everyone understands why it is necessary.
  8. Thou Shalt Be a Role Model for Respect — When each employee feels respected and valued, they’ll respect managers, each other, and your customers.
  9. Thou Shalt Build Relationships — Good relationships with managers, co-workers, and clients are just as important, if not more so, to many employees as is their compensation.
  10. Thou Shalt Make Responsibility Your Modus Operandi — Let it be known that everyone will be held responsible for meeting their commitments and fulfilling their duties.

12 Fatal Flaws That Derail Leaders – 8th December

Lolly Daskal lists the 12 flaws that are sudden death to good leadership. She suggests that you make sure you’re steering clear of these dangerous habits as you work through your strengths and weaknesses, capabilities and limits;

  1. Not setting the example – When you set yourself apart and fail to “walk your talk,” people disconnect. Everything starts with you.
  2. Not having a strong vision – Without a vision you understand and can articulate clearly, you can’t impart a sense of purpose and direction to others.
  3. Not building people skills – It’s great to be smart, but if you can’t be honest and open, if you can’t control your emotions or connect with others, you leave a trail of doubt and stress behind you.
  4. Not communicating – If you can’t clearly say what you need from people and why you need it, you’re never going to get the results you want.
  5. Delegating badly or not at all – If you try to do it all yourself, you create bottlenecks and frustration. And if you delegate carelessly, you create chaos.
  6. Forgetting your mistakes – If you can’t open yourself up to learn from your missteps, you’re destined to make the same errors again and again.
  7. Not fostering emotional intelligence – If you don’t bring empathy, understanding, and camaraderie to your relationships, they will suffer.
  8. Ignoring your team’s development – If you fail to invest in your people with opportunities to grow and learn, you’re throwing away your greatest resource.
  9. Losing your inspiration – Disconnect from your vision, become complacent, and you’ll find yourself with a team that’s in it just for the paycheck.
  10. Lowering your standards – If you settle for mediocrity and become willing to ride the status quo, that’s exactly what you’ll inspire in others.
  11. Resisting change – If you don’t open up to new ideas, you limit innovation and change. If you don’t adjust to changing realities, you can’t carry your vision and your team into the future.
  12. Letting integrity and honesty slide – Your message, your leadership, your influence is built in part on your flaws. You can try to cover them up with dishonesty and blame, or you can diligently work to improve yourself in everything you do. Whichever one you choose will become your legacy.
[Editor’s note – I suggest a 13th; Not doing all in your power to make it easy for your staff to do a fabulous job]

New Research: The Top 10 Factors for Employee Happiness on the Job – 8th December

New research by the Boston Consulting Group has thrown new light on what motivates employees according to Customer Think. The global survey of over 200,000 people found contrary to other studies that appreciation is the #1 motivator rather than compensation which, in the BCG results, ranked 8th. BCG’s study found the top 10 motivators as follows (grouped by factor):

  1. Appreciation for your work (job content and opportunities)
  2. Good relationships with colleagues (work environment)
  3. Good work-life balance (work environment)
  4. Good relationship with superiors (work environment)
  5. Company’s financial stability (company reputation and image)
  6. Learning and career development (job content and opportunities)
  7. Job security (work environment
  8. Attractive fixed salary (compensation package)
  9. Interesting job content (job content and opportunities)
  10. Company values (company reputation and image)

Taking the factors together this is how they rank:

  1. Work environment
  2. Job content and opportunities
  3. Company reputation and image
  4. Compensation package.
[Editor’s Note – This fits with Dan Pink’s work around motivation (autonomy, mastery, purpose) and also with our own view of engagement through the lens of our extraMILETM model. What does continue to surprise me though is how all such research misses out a critical factor – the Infrastructure Factor. Check it out in our Model here]

8 Reasons to Use the 9 Box Matrix for Succession Planning and Development – 6th December

Dan McCarthy likes the 9 Box Matrix and explains why here.  The performance and potential matrix is also referred to as the 9 box grid, 9 box matrix, or simply as “the 9 box”.

The 9 box is one of the most widely used tools in succession planning and leadership development. It can be a valuable tool for anyone who works in talent management, or for any manager as a way to assess and differentiate a team or organization.

It is usually used to assess individuals on two dimensions – their past performance and their future potential.

The X axis (horizontal line) of 3 boxes assesses performance and the Y axis of 3 boxes (vertical line) assesses leadership potential. A combination of Y and X axis makes up the box within the grid that each employee is placed in. Picture the old Hollywood Squares game show or the introduction to the Brady Bunch, with each character sitting in one of 9 boxes.

While an individual leader can use the 9 box to assess their own employees, it’s real value is when a leadership team uses it as a part of a “talent review” to have a discussion about the entire organization’s collective talent.

What are the benefits? Why’s it so popular?

  1. It’s simple and effective (95% of the time). The beauty of the tool is in its simplicity and ease of use. With a little explanation and initial facilitation, managers usually can catch on pretty quickly.
  2. It’s free and not proprietary. Other than people’s time, or a paid facilitator, there is no cost to using the 9 box.
  3. It serves as a catalyst for robust dialog. It’s not about filling out the grid – it’s all about the discussion. That’s a critical point that beginner teams often lose sight of.
  4. It provide a framework and structure. While “candid and robust” is a good thing, without a framework, these conversations can get messy and side-tracked. With skilled facilitation, the 9-box provides a framework and roadmap to discuss each individual’s performance, potential, development needs, and development plans.
  5. Helps calibrate criteria and expectations. It’s recommended that teams go into the talent review with a pre-determined, clear, consistent, definition of performance and potential.
  6. It’s more accurate than one person’s opinion. The accuracy of assessing performance and potential improves with multiple data points. Manager’s often have blind spots with their own employees, and are unaware of how they are perceived by others. These discussions can help shine a light on superstars and poor performers.
  7. Facilitates shared ownership, teamwork. This is a ground rule for any talent management meeting and discussion. In a functional or segmented organization, talent development is often one of the few things a management team can actually work on together.
  8. It’s a diagnostic tool for development. A talent review meeting uncovers both individual and organizational strengths and weaknesses. The 9 box serves as a needs assessment for development actions that need to be taken.

How to Get Executive Buy-In for your Engagement Strategy- 6 December

Have you ever tried putting together a piece of IKEA furniture without the instructions? It’s a nightmare, claims Rob Catalano in this piece for Engage for Success. Sure it’s doable, he says, but it’s also complicated, frustrating and leaves you with a lot of anxiety any time a guest takes a seat in that chair. (Not to mention all of the ‘just-in-case’ Allen Keys you have to keep on hand.)

Same goes for an engagement strategy without senior leadership buy-in. While it’s possible, empowering and motivating your workforce is a lot more difficult without support from your leadership. Senior leaders can help a recognition programme boost your financial gains and in fact, when senior leaders are actively involved in an employee recognition program, companies are nine times more likely to have strong business results. Get executive support for your engagement program by following these three easy steps.

Describe the Impact that Employee Engagement has on Financial Performance

Recognition and employee engagement strategies fly under the radar when it comes to accounting for financial performance. But the reality is that these functions can have a profound impact on financial performance. Engaged workplaces yield a 38% increase in productivity and a 27% increase in profitability.

Explain the Cost of Staff Turnover

Many leaders don’t entirely understand the cost of turnover. They know it’s an expense and account for obvious costs such as severance, recruiting fees and ramp-up time for new employees, but there are a number of other hidden expenses that go unaccounted:

  • Exit interview
  • Advertising and search fees for new candidates
  • Applicant travel
  • Recruiter time and travel
  • Interview time
  • Background checks
  • Relocation
  • Sales revenue

Tell Them What’s Happening at your Competitors’ Businesses

Senior leadership is not only focused on what’s happening at their own company, but they also must keep a pulse on what’s going on with your competitors. Do some research, he suggests, and share with your leadership which competitors have adopted engagement strategies and practice recognition.

If possible, get insight into their engagement scores by searching on sites like Glassdoor. From there, explain the results that highly engaged companies have on the bottom line. The best companies achieve 10.80% of comparative annualized stock market returns and have 50% less staff turnover.

It’s of paramount importance to get leadership on our side to help push our HR agenda. Happy selling!

3 Workplace Trends to watch for in 2015 (and beyond) – 4th December

Fortune has been casting it’s crystal ball over the flute of the workplace and come up with 3 trends that it thinks will emerge or accelerate over the next 12 months.

  • Artificial intelligence will transform the workplace – Automation will place more emphasis on knowledge workers and creative work. The world economy will lose jobs faster than it can create new ones.
  • Companies will need and Chief of Work – The CoW will co-ordinate functions such as IT and HR and be responsible for building a culture that attracts top talent.
  • Office cubicles will be a thing of the past – workplaces will become healthier, more comfortable and more fun. Campus style buildings with mood lighting and cultural events.

Fortune based their article on the Fast Forward Report by CBRE who highlighted 5 game changers that they believe will be the top sources of competitive edge over the next 10 years:

  1. Attraction and retention of top/key talent
  2. Innovation (thinking outside the box)
  3. Adaptability to changing circumstances
  4. Adoption of technology
  5. Organisational vision, culture and philosophy
[Editor’s Note – All these points hit home for us and reinforce our view that performance and engagement come together through the extraMILETM model]

Employee engagement at the Charity Commission has fallen in 2014 – 3 December

This year’s Civil Service People Survey says a smaller proportion of staff now have confidence in the regulator’s leadership and change-management ability.

Reported here in the journal Third Sector, employee engagement levels at the Charity Commission have fallen over the past year, with particular declines in staff confidence in the regulator’s leadership and change-management capacity, according to this year’s Civil Service People Survey.

The commission’s score declined in eight of the nine “drivers of engagement” areas measured in the survey, which asked commission staff to what extent they agreed with statements about such areas as their work, management, pay and wellbeing.

The results of the survey, which was carried out in October with 227 employees, representing three-quarters of commission staff, have been published online today.

The report on the results says the commission has an overall engagement score of 53 per cent, which is five percentage points lower than in the same survey last year and six percentage points lower than the median score across all participating civil service departments.

The most substantial fall is in leadership and change management, where the score has dropped from 48 per cent to 36 per cent. In this section, which comprised 10 questions, just 32 per cent of staff said they felt the commission as a whole was managed well, down from 44 per cent last year, and 23 per cent said that change was managed well in the commission, down from 44 per cent in 2013.

Learning development is the one main area in which its engagement score has not fallen – in fact, it has risen from 37 per cent last year to 39 per cent in 2014, although this is still below the civil service median of 50 per cent.

According to the report, 88 per cent of commission staff said they were interested in their work, a figure unchanged since last year and a single percentage point below the civil service median.

In October, nearly half of commission staff went on strike for a day as part of a protest over pay, with their union saying many will have suffered a pay cut of a fifth in real terms since 2010.

Managing 3 Types of Bad Bosses – 1st December

Vineet Nayar describes how, one chilly morning in Paris, he was talking to a group of young managers about building high-performance teams. As his conversation progressed, he asked them why they hadn’t already executed some of the ideas we had been talking about. He was completely taken aback by the response: Most blamed their bosses for their inertia. They felt that they had the worst kind of supervisors, and there was no way to get past them.

That night, he thought long and hard about the discussion, and had to agree that bad bosses can deflate the best intentions, disable the most enthusiastic people, and freeze the hottest ideas. But he wondered how widespread the problem was. To find out, he reached out to his network using social media. The response was overwhelming, suggesting that the problem was widespread and worthy of analysis.

In his experience, there are three particularly ineffective types of leaders. Here are a few ways of dealing with each:

#1 The Indecisive Boss – Leaders are indecisive for a variety of reasons. Some may be perfectionists, others are paralyzed by uncertainty and many prefer the seeming safety of the status quo. Employees hate such leaders. Here are some ideas to try;

  • Define before deciding. Instead of seeking a decision, involve the indecisive leader in defining the problem. One sure way to get closer to a decision is to ask a lot of questions. That will open new windows of information, and your manager will become more comfortable about making a decision.
  • Force the first step. Big decisions can be broken down into small ones. All you need is for your manager to make one small decision that enables you to take the first step; then the next one, and so on.
  • Build trust. Vacillating managers look for peers they can talk to before they make up their minds. Become the person your manager trusts; you can then help make decisions quickly.
  • Have a conversation. Get together as a team and have a candid, unscheduled discussion with your manager about the way his or her behavior is affecting productivity and morale.

#2 The Insecure Manager – Managers are supposed to motivate employees, not compete with them. Yet, many supervisors inhibit talented employees and good ideas because of their own insecurities. Here’s how to tackle an insecure boss;

  • Understand the root cause. Step back and look at the big picture. Many pressures – such as year-end goals or unfinished projects — might be the cause of the boss’s anxiety. Make sure you aren’t feeding your boss’s insecurity by acting too aggressively. If you approach him or her collaboratively, you might just get better results.
  • Be more transparent. Self-doubting managers fear the unknown and assume the unintended. Trust, the only antidote, is built by transparency. Even if it takes more time and effort, share as much information as possible.
  • Appreciate the positives. Insecurity is often reflective of the lack of self-esteem, so pay attention to strengths. The goal is to make your boss focus on building his or her strengths rather than feeling threatened by weaknesses.

#3 The All-Knowing Leader – Some executives think they know it all. They assume they are the smartest people in the room, feel they are the only ones interested in succeeding, and constantly tell stories about how they pulled off impossible things in the past. They also believe that without them, everything will fall apart. You can manage them in the following ways:

  • Allow your boss to discover your ideas. Omniscient leaders will challenge you and mire your ideas in discussions about the pros and cons if you present them as prescriptions. However, they love spotting great ideas themselves. Try presenting your ideas as if they are half-baked, or as though you’re unsure of their efficacy and need to hone them.
  • Channel the boss’s energy. All-knowing executives like to be engaged with something new all the time. Once they have a new idea to play with, employees will get the time and the space to do their job.
  • Enable the boss to experience reality. Get them involved in the work rather than telling them about it.

Many of us may feel that it’s not our job to mend flawed supervisors and that top management needs to intervene. In reality, you have only two choices: Keep waiting for the organization to fix your flawed leader — or find ways of doing so yourself. If you take matters into your own hands even in small ways, you will be able to ensure that you get past the inertia of your boss.

What Airbnb Gets About Culture that Uber Doesn’t – 27th November

Arun Sundararajan compares and contrasts the culture of these two modern-day organisations – platforms that are firm-market hybrids, supplying branded service offerings without actually employing the providers or owning the assets used in provision.

Crucial to their long-run success could be creating an appropriate platform culture — shared norms, values and capabilities among the providers. It’s the analog of an organizational culture, but without the directive authority or co-located social systems that traditional firms can take advantage of to manage their employees.

The fact that these two market leaders are using such different approaches provides a useful testing ground for what works and what doesn’t.

These two flagship platforms of the sharing economy are remarkably similar in many ways.

  • Each has facilitated the digitally mediated “peer-to-peer” provision of a service rooted heavily in real-world assets, and regulated by city and local (rather than federal) government.
  • Each has raised massive amounts of venture capital, sustaining a market capitalization in the double-digit billions while facing tremendous pushback from regulators and incumbent stakeholders.
  • Each has invested heavily in government relations, hiring high-profile D.C. veterans  David Plouffe (Uber) and David Hantman(Airbnb).
  • Both are market leaders in what they do, spawning brands that have already permeated the cultural dialog.

Offering these organization-like capabilities matters because both businesses rely on a high-quality, customer-facing, branded service experience.  However, neither platform owns or even leases the assets (eg, the apartments and the cars) used to accommodate their guests or transport their passengers.

Neither platform employs any of its providers (the drivers or the hosts).  The business model is almost like a digital franchise, though one involving far greater delegation of ownership and control to providers.

To deliver consistently on the promised branded service experience, it is critical to develop and communicate a “platform culture” to these providers, one that shapes their capabilities and guides their behavior appropriately.

So how does each company’s platform culture differ?

  • Airbnb appears to have taken the approach of investing significantly in creating community and a feeling of partnership, and of disseminating best practices.  Along with the community-building exercises, its recently concluded host convention featured a number of sessions on how to be a better provider.
  • Airbnb facilitates host groups for knowledge sharing, integrated into a host application that also embeds hospitality standards and guidelines, as well as standalone meetups for hosts to exchange information. The emphasis on community and connectedness is very visible in the company’s recently initiated “Belong Anywhere” branding strategy.
  • The three co-founders have consistently visited and stayed at the homes of key hosts around the world, an experience that likely builds significant loyalty.

In contrast, Uber unfailingly appears to place distance between the platform and its providers. Pricing changes are implemented centrally and announced unilaterally, with no visible provider consultation.

Community building is not a priority.  A large gathering of Uber drivers is more likely to be a protest than a convention, ironic given the frequency with which taxi drivers stage similar gatherings to advocate a regulatory shutdown of the service, in the U.S. and beyond.

What drives the contrast in cultures at these two newly minted tech giants?

Both companies have seen exponential growth in demand and organizational size that must have posed similar challenges. Both are funded by a mix of Silicon Valley investors and Wall Street firms.

Industry differences might play a role — there’s a different level of intimacy in sharing someone’s car for a few minutes and sharing someone’s home for a few days. However, the platform culture of Uber’s biggest competitor, Lyft, seems closer to Airbnb’s.

Perhaps, much like company culture, platform culture flows from the founders. 

Yes, Uber’s growth and razor-sharp focus are admirable, its technological prowess and data scientists are remarkable, and there is interesting potential in its API (application programming interface), already adopted by brands ranging from TripAdvisor and OpenTable to Starbucks and Hilton.

But the platform culture its leaders are propagating sometimes leads one to wonder whether they genuinely foresee a future where the human providers are cut out of the equation and their technology powers a fleet of driverless vehicles transporting things rather than people.

As more venture capital — close to $7 billion and counting — flows into these early entrants and their successors, it seems important for the platforms to realize there is a difference between branding strategy and the actual creation of a world-class brand.

For these new businesses that rely on non-employees to be the face of their nascent brands, nurturing the right platform culture — and recognizing that this flows in part from the culture senior leaders create within the company — is likely critical to their sustained success.

What Maslow’s Hierarchy Won’t Tell You About Motivation – 26th November

Susan Fowler explains that at some point in their careers, most leaders have either consciously — or, more likely, unwittingly — based (or justified) their approach to motivation on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow’s idea that people are motivated by satisfying lower-level needs such as food, water, shelter, and security, before they can move on to being motivated by higher-level needs such as self-actualization, is the most well-known motivation theory in the world.

There is nothing wrong with helping people satisfy what Maslow characterized as lower-level needs. Improvements in workplace conditions and safety should be applauded as the right thing to do. Seeing that people have enough food and water to meet their biological needs is the humane thing to do.

Getting people off the streets into healthy environments is the decent thing to do.

Despite the popularity of Maslow’s Hierarchy, there is not much recent data to support it.

Contemporary science — specifically Dr. Edward Deci, together with hundreds of Self-Determination Theory researchers and thousands of studies — instead points to three universal psychological needs.

If you really want to advantage of this new science – rather than focusing on a pyramid of needs – you should focus on: Autonomy, Relatedness, and Competence.

Autonomy is people’s need to perceive that they have choices, that what they are doing is of their own volition, and that they are the source of their own actions.

The way leaders frame information and situations either promotes the likelihood that a person will perceive autonomy or undermines it. To promote autonomy:

  1. Frame goals and timelines as essential information to assure a person’s success, rather than as dictates or ways to hold people accountable.
  2. Refrain from incentivizing people through competitions and games. Few people have learned the skill of shifting the reason why they’re competing from an external one (winning a prize or gaining status) to a higher-quality one (an opportunity to fulfill a meaningful goal).
  3. Don’t apply pressure to perform. Sustained peak performance is a result of people acting because they choose to — not because they feel they have to.

Relatedness is people’s need to care about and be cared about by others, to feel connected to others without concerns about ulterior motives, and to feel that they are contributing to something greater than themselves.

Leaders have a great opportunity to help people derive meaning from their work. To deepen relatedness:

  1. Validate the exploration of feelings in the workplace. Be willing to ask people how they feel about an assigned project or goal and listen to their response. All behavior may not be acceptable, but all feelings are worth exploring.
  2. Take time to facilitate the development of people’s values at work — then help them align those values with their goals. It is impossible to link work to values if individuals don’t know what their values are.
  3. Connect people’s work to a noble purpose.

Competence is people’s need to feel effective at meeting every-day challenges and opportunities, demonstrating skill over time, and feeling a sense of growth and flourishing.

Leaders can rekindle people’s desire to grow and learn. To develop people’s competence:

  1. Make resources available for learning. What message does it send about values for learning and developing competence when training budgets are the first casualty of economic cutbacks?
  2. Set learning goals — not just the traditional results-oriented and outcome goals.
  3. At the end of each day, instead of asking, “What did you achieve today?” ask “What did you learn today? How did you grow today in ways that will help you and others tomorrow?”

Unlike Maslow’s needs, these three basic needs are not hierarchical or sequential. They are foundational to all human beings and our ability to flourish.

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About Emenex

We help you keep your great people great.

Emenex enables organisations to get the best from and for their staff. Leaders approach us when they have challenges associated with motivation, productivity, retention, talent management and succession planning. They know that addressing these critical issues can deliver higher levels of profit, productivity and customer satisfaction. They also know that a more progressive solution is required – one that enhances their brand with customers and staff alike. The solution our clients are choosing to implement is the extraMILETM approach to engagement and development. The extraMILETM delivers all the tools and skills leaders need to clearly define and communicate organisational priorities to employees. For employees, it ensures they are prepared and able to align their personal and career goals to the priorities of the organisation. The continued growth and development of both teams and individuals builds loyalty, commitment and engagement. It builds an organisation better able to meet future challenges and leads to higher performance and customer satisfaction.

The result? Individuals and their organisation excel. Get in touch to find out more.

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