How many of your team members are fully engaged in their work? What about you? Would you describe yourself as fully engaged, or are there days when you’d have to admit, you’re somewhat “going through the motions”? Workplace studies indicate that almost 70% of the American workforce is disengaged or actively disengaged in their job.
Any level of disengagement can be costly, whether it results in poor customer service, a lack of focus on safety, or even something as simplistic as the general atmosphere in the workplace. So what can you do to become better engaged in your job, and to help your teammates do the same? There are three things we can tap into that will help people enjoy work more and to experience greater fulfillment.
Without sounding too elementary, core values are the things a person values most. If you were to ask a broad cross-section of people what their core values are, the answers would probably include faith, family, career, health, wealth, leisure/hobbies, and even freedom. At the deepest level, these are the things which people are willing to make sacrifices for in order to have or retain. And they will fight to keep them.
In spite of the fact that these may not be directly tied to their job, it is very important to identify these (or at least take them into account) because they are directly related to the amount of fulfillment a person will experience in their job. In his book, If Aristotle Ran General Motors, Tom Morris observed:
"People are not motivated to be and do their best unless they feel some significant degree of satisfaction at work. They must sense that their work is a good thing, and doing it must bring them some measure of happiness."
A person’s core values make up the essence of who they are, and until they feel like their work is an extension of who they are, it is unlikely that they will give their best effort to it.
The second thing you need to know about your team members are their motivators—the things a person NEEDS most. There are five major things that motivate people to give their best effort:
Accumulation: This could be money, education/certifications, or something else that is especially rewarding to that individual.
Recognition: From appreciation that is expressed verbally, to a plaque recognizing outstanding effort or longevity of service, this can take many forms. Not only does this individual never grow indifferent to it, they crave it.
Competition: This individual is driven by the challenge of out performing others, historical milestones, or big goals, and they will go to great lengths to “win.”
Satisfaction/Fulfillment: This individual is primarily driven by intrinsic motivation. They don’t need verbal acknowledgement or fanfare; they simply want to feel like they “did their best,” regardless of anyone else’s performance or perspective.
Relationship(s): This team member’s greatest drive is to help the team win, make their boss look good, and avoid “letting someone down.”
While these can work for the good of the team, it is also important to be aware that when people with different motivators are grouped together, it can also be detrimental.
The third and final consideration you need to know about your team members are their aspirations. These are the things a person HOPES for the most, and are somewhat tied to both motivators and core values. This is what people want their life to count for or to be remembered for. Theses are their long-range, key objectives for life. Quite often, they don’t see how their job can feed into or contribute to those key objectives, but you may be able to help them realize that, and ultimately help them to become more engaged in their job as a result.
By spending a little time to identify what your Big 3 are, you can become more excited about work, and maybe even have fun doing it again…then you can begin to help others do the same.