Employee Engagement and the 4-Drive Model

Much of the work that I’ve done in the past has been on how the 4-Drive Model impacts employee motivation.  The research that we did as well as the work that we implemented, focused mostly on large scale initiatives / programs that helped to satisfy these different drives (sales incentives, contests, recognition programs, award trips, performance management systems, etc..).  Recently, I’ve been asked to develop some workshops, using the 4-Drive Model as the foundation, but that focus on helping managers better engage their employees – at a local level.

Putting these workshops together has been fascinating because it takes the 4-Drive Model to a much more specific place.  Working one-on-one with an employee to help them feel more engaged at work.  Even after 6 years of working with this model, I’ve identified a few new key pieces.

1. We all know that different people have different motivational profiles – but we’ve found that individuals motivational profiles can change very quickly (unlike someone’s personality profile – which changes little over time).  Motivation, we found, is very context dependent.  This is an important aspect when thinking about engagement.

2. Team environments within a larger organization are more important than any large scale initiative.  Again, this is not ground breaking, but it does go to how team cultures are created or destroyed.  One key piece that I’ve recognized, is that one bad-apple, can have an overly large negative effect on overall engagement of the team.  In the past, I would have suggested working with that person to help develop them and coach them to improve – now I recommend that managers get rid of them as quickly as possible once they are recognized.  It sounds harsh, but those individuals can poison the entire team to a point that makes it very hard to recover.

3. Most managers are too busy to focus on engagement.  They have a hard enough time getting all of the work done that they are tasked to do – much less spend time thinking about how they can or should engage their employees.  They often are so busy that they don’t stop to look around at what their employees are doing or saying.  It is important to help them focus a portion of their energy on understanding what makes their team tick.

4. Most managers have not developed the skills and knowledge needed to effectively engage their employees.  Some managers are naturally talented in this, like the sports phenom who at 18 possesses all skills necessary to be at the professional level.  Most managers are on the JV team (if they even make the team).  They need the coaching and time to develop their skills.  Engagement is not hard, it just takes time and effort.  

5. Probably the number one issue that managers have is that they don’t know what to focus on to increase engagement.  Is it purely recognition, is it collaboration, is it tying to the larger purpose, is it compensation?  This is where the 4-Drive Model really helps and can provide some guidance for managers and a way to understand their team.

Let me know your thoughts on this and any examples you’ve seen of good or poor management with regards to engagement.

Thank you!

Survivor: Corporate America edition – Guest blog by Paul Schoening

Survivor “Damn Lucky”

Counter-intuitively, organizations tend to find difficulty prioritizing their employee engagement efforts during challenging environments. In fact, during this recession many have executed a status quo strategy, which communicates to their single greatest resource that you are “damn lucky to still be here”. Take a moment to think about this – has this been your organizations approach to engagement?

Therein lies the issue! If we tell our recession survivors they’re lucky to have a job and yet we label them our greatest remaining resource, we are sending mixed messages.

My Story Continue reading “Survivor: Corporate America edition – Guest blog by Paul Schoening”

5 Lessons From the Maze

People going through the maze

The Maze

Over the past 18 years I have conducted a team building event called the Electronic Maze® with hundreds of companies and thousands of participants.  Sometimes called the “Magic Carpet” the Electronic Maze is extraordinary, not because it is magic, but because of the team behaviors and emotional responses it elicits.

Those behaviors and emotional responses are surprising similar across a wide variety of groups: senior managers, line workers, middle management, cohesive teams, strangers, international audiences, men, women, and every group that we’ve ever done this with.

Those behaviors are also very insightful as to how we perceive the world, work with each other, and get things done. Continue reading “5 Lessons From the Maze”

Unmotivated and staying that way

Are there certain people who just can’t be motivated?  Are there Wally’s who render the motivation fairy powerless?  While I would like to believe that isn’t the case, I have to wonder…

Motivation is Personal

One of the core beliefs that I have is that motivation is very personal.  People are individuals with different motivational triggers and drives.  While there are basic underlying motivational drives (see 4-Drive Model), those drives impact each of us differently and create a unique motivational profile.

This implies that if one can understand that motivational profile of a person, one should be able to understand what to do to motivate them…right?

That is the implication…however I believe reality is a little different. Continue reading “Unmotivated and staying that way”

The Story vs. The Analyst: How good communication gets ruined!

The largest part of our business is developing communications for sales incentive plans.  We create presentations, develop plan books, and design flash and other forms of communication. We got into this work by accident (one client many years ago asked us to create a “meeting in a box” for his IC plan – the rest, as they say, is history), but now we embrace it and have carved out a niche.  That niche is taking highly analytical and dry plan data and making it more interesting, more engaging, and more motivating for the sales representative.  Over the past 10 years we have done just this for thousands of plans and hundreds of thousands of participants.

We strive to tell a visual and emotive story with our work.  We work hard at capturing the vital information that is important to a sales person and making that information understandable and engaging.  I like to think we do a good job – when our clients allow us to.  You see, telling a story about incentive compensation and creating captivating visuals to convey that information isn’t easy.  It requires that we make choices about what information we share.  It means that we may have to simplify the message.  It may mean changing how we present and what types of communication that we use.  This, for some clients, is easier said than done. Continue reading “The Story vs. The Analyst: How good communication gets ruined!”

Motivation Monday Tip: Honesty

honesty

Today’s Motivation Monday Tip requires an honest look at identifying 5 specific things that will motivate you and/or your team this week to excel.

Managers:

Sometimes it can be hard to ask for feedback but today’s tip could really help your team soar this week! Schedule a 30 minute motivation meeting this week to have an honest conversation with your team on what motivates them.  

  • Ask your team, “Name 5 specific things that I can do as your manager to help support and encourage you this week to make our [insert relevant project/goal here] a huge success!”

Individuals:

It is time to stop procrastinating and honestly look at the tasks/projects that you are not motivated to do this week. Schedule a 15 minute motivation meeting for yourself this week. 

  • Ask yourself the following question, “What 5 things can I do this week to move forward the tasks/projects that I have the least motivation around?”