Are you always looking for ways to engage your employees? There are so many ways to foster engagement, but there is one that is quick and easy to focus on that should have your employees feeling more engaged in no time, and if you thought about it, you already know what it is. I am going to give you some hints to figure it out.
If you embark on painting your bedroom that new spring color, what is the best part of doing the work?
It is Saturday afternoon and you decide to break out the hose and some sponges to wash your own car (does anyone actually do this anymore?), what is the best part of doing the work?
You finally fix the light in your wife’s closet, what is the best part of doing the work?
By now, I am sure you have figured it out. Seeing the end product and value of what you have done provides meaning in your work. In the case of the closet light, it may be that the best part is getting your wife off of your back, too- but I digress.
Motivation is a tricky thing. I am not going to give a lesson on intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation (although, I recommend if you have not had this lesson that is something you should look into), but I want to reinforce the absolute value in engaging with your employees through a tie to the end result. The further removed someone is from the end product, the harder it may be to see the value in their work, so make sure they see what it is!
Recently, I went to the grand opening ceremony for the new location of a really amazing organization, LifeLink Foundation, which is a non-profit that recovers organs and tissues for transplant therapy. What an amazing and inspiring organization. Their commitment is literally displayed on the walls of their organization, with quilts constructed by family members of those whose organs have been recovered to save others. There is no doubt the impact of the personal stories shared, and the personal engagement with the transplant recipients and their families, as well as the families of those who donated their organs has on those who work there.
You might be thinking that it may be easy for an inspirational organization like LifeLink to engage employees in such meaningful work, but your organization is not saving lives. That doesn’t mean that your employees won’t derive great value in seeing the result of their efforts. Think of the feeing of pride that a jet engine engineer will have in seeing the components of her work take off for the first time in a newly completed jet, or a professor feels when they see their students walk across the stage.
No matter what your organization does or makes, a good rule of thumb is to make sure that everyone in the organization can see the value in what they are contributing.