Interest in your work and believing in its inherent value is the best way to stay motivated, according to Dr Heidi Grant Halvorson, of Columbia’s Motivation Science Centre.
A recent study published by psychologists at California State University found that participants contributed more effort and performed better when they were given tasks that were difficult but interesting, than when they were working on easy but dull tasks. Working on something interesting even resulted in better performance on subsequent tasks.
Workers also perform better when they have a feeling of autonomy and ownership over what they’re doing. So how can you make work more interesting? There are several things to consider, but in our experience the three points listed below are probably the most influential when it comes to staff engagement, and align with Dan Pinks philosophy and ideas around Autonomy, Purpose and Meaning to maximise staff engagement.
Show them why they add value
You should clearly communicate your business’ goals so that your staff can connect what they’re doing to why they’re doing it. Showing your employees the bigger picture, and how their contribution fits into it, encourages buy-in.
Involved and passionate employees are more likely to understand and uphold your company’s mission and values. This doesn’t mean that you have to go into every detail about how the business operates and is performing. If you involve and inform your staff on key values, goals and objectives, and highlight their value contribution in the chain, your employees are more likely to respond positively.
Respect their way of working
A micromanaging supervisor who’s always hovering over her teams shoulder and scrutinising every decision is irritating, stifling and almost always counterproductive. It sends out the message that you don’t trust your workers’ or respect their choices and decisions.
Instead, give your employees ownership of their working processes, space to grow and a degree of autonomy in how they do their job and deliver the results you desire. Agree a deadline for completion of work, and back off.
Allow freedom of choice
Allow employees a degree of control over how they work, when they work, and if possible the location they work from. If someone can work more effectively from home on a particular project, give them the opportunity to do so. When you respect an individuals’ judgement and personal preferences, you automatically build engagement.
Research shows that self-management increases an employees’ sense of meaningfulness (and passion), which is a powerful booster of commitment, performance and job satisfaction.
While some workers appreciate lots of feedback and support, others may prefer to work more independently, touching base less often. Rigid planning and processes may suit one person, while another works best with a less structured approach. Allow as much flexibility as the role permits, while understanding how best to maximise the potential of your staff.
Empower your employees by acknowledging they have the skills, knowledge or experience to make good decisions which will give them the confidence and inspiration to take ownership of their role in driving the business forward. A key management strategy is to understand what works for each team member.
In other words, try to move your business towards a results driven culture, not a process driven culture.
The results could astound you.
Tony Delaney, CEO Brownie Points Software