employee trinity

The Employee Trinity: Engaged, Happy and Motivated

I once worked for a company that told me this on my first day:

“When you work here we want you to feel happy. We want you to understand your value, your place, and the difference between being good, and being great.”

Leaders are often looking for ways to increase the efficiency of their workforce. By engaging them enthusiastically, logically and collectively, employee productivity can be attained. However true that is, this was the first time any company had ever mentioned my happiness and employee greatness in the same sentence.

So, as I usually do when I hear something that makes me pause, I asked: “What do you mean happy?”

This was the first time any company had ever mentioned my happiness and employee greatness in the same sentence.

Almost immediately, flickers of team hugs, and “feeling” sticks flashed before my eyes. My then boss’ response was nothing, if not similar to someone speaking a foreign language to me:

“A happy employee is not necessarily an engaged employee, and an engaged employee is not necessarily a happy one, but, we have found that to win in the marketplace…you must first learn what makes your employees want to be in your workplace.”

Truth be-told, it was like every other office, same lunch area, same divisions of people and so forth, but there was one notable difference: me. I felt part of something. I felt appreciated, and valued from day one. I had a large amount of autonomy and responsibility, but also knew I had managers who saw me as a human being-not worker 7-34.

Since then, I have occasionally reflected on what that culture and that company taught me. I realized they understood the difference between a happy employee and an engaged employee. I also realized they understood how to transform that happiness into productivity.

“Everything that pushed me to be greater, were the things that could never be counted like dollars and cents: the genuine atmosphere, the extraordinary people, and the free and open communication.”

A happy employee is not necessarily an engaged employee, and an engaged employee is not necessarily a happy one, but, we have found that to win in the marketplace…you must first learn what makes your employees want to be in your workplace.

I realized that the most important things I was ever taught from that company came from what they told me on my first day. I realized that my drive to be great was sustained by my company’s willingness to do the following:

1. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Understanding that employee relationships are not “mini projects” is what distinguishes the great companies from the good ones. Communication with your employees is not a “project”, but similar to a child playing a game of hide and seek. A child never plays to win, but plays because they sincerely like the adventure in “finding” someone. Employee and manager communication is the same. Honest and sincere communication should continue for as long as the company wishes to thrive. Just like an efficacious relationship with your husband or wife should not be a mini project; neither should the one between an employee and their manager.

2. Measure the Unmeasurable

How to measure what doesn’t have an outright, visible dollar amount has been the biggest challenge for most companies. Measuring employee happiness, engagement and motivation is much more than just monitoring KPI’s. If you have employees engaging and feeling included, you’re going to have higher motivation, increased efficiency, and generally better ideas and innovation, but how do you measure that?

The best way is to listen to what makes your employees happy and motivated at work. The best way I have seen this done is by engaging with them through an internal social app. This application was a mobile and web app that not only measured employee happiness, but was also a central conduit for company news. It was innovative, and generally speaking, user friendly and engaging.

If you listen to what your employees are saying, foster an atmosphere of inspired partnership, and encourage input from everyone, you’ll see surges in adeptness and collaboration that lead to quantifiable growths in profits.

3.  Foster employee initiative

Initiative is the foundation of all governance. Without initiative, there is no leadership, only inert observership. In closed organizations, the inventiveness is left to management. When barriers are high, personal initiative is resisted and those who may be more self-sufficient, inventive and original in their thoughts and actions are discouraged for being so.

If you listen to what your employees are saying, foster an atmosphere of inspired partnership, and encourage input from everyone, you’ll see surges in adeptness and collaboration that lead to quantifiable growths in profits.

In a culture with low barriers, people recognize that they have the chance and responsibility to create fresh ways of realizing their own awesomeness. Accordingly, they take the lead to create positive and lasting change. Personal value gets mixed with personal dexterity, and employees begin to find their place within the company, and also their motivation, reasons to engage, and personal sense of happiness at work.

In summary, as Albert Einstein said: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Companies must throw away the rulebook, and try new things. See what works for them, and create authentic leaders who will become champions of their brand.

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Copyright: rnl / 123RF Stock Photo

Shauna Sexsmith works for Apricot Consulting, a firm dedicated to fostering ‪social ‪innovation, ‪CSR, and ‪leadership development, with offices in New York City, Melbourne, Los Angeles, and San Paulo. ‬‬‬‬ Shauna has over six years of experience working as a communications consultant within the sports, government/not-for-profit, and education sectors. Her expertise focuses on the leadership capacities required for organizations pursuing sustainable practices, and she provides training and coaching in the strategic and operational aspects of management, change, marketing, and client relationship management.

  • reply Keith Clarke ,

    Hi Shauna,

    Communication with your employees is not a “project”.

    This line really captures the problems companies face. As soon as engagement or communication with employees is given a fancy name and deadlines the game is set up to fail. It must be about culture and people from day one, not lip service and projects.

    Great post

    • reply Shauna Lee Sexsmith ,

      Hi Kathy,

      Glad you enjoyed the article!

      Too often, when companies are thinking about their strategic planning – they spend the bulk of their time on brand identity and positioning and not enough on employee engagement. But employee engagement is critical to strategic planning’s ultimate success as they are the ones who will ultimately bring that vision to the world(customers)

      The cornerstone to all healthy two-way communication starts with
      storytelling. Storytelling is a way for companies to give and receive information in a very healthy and mutually-beneficial manner. Storytelling can help companies advance a more focused and purposeful employee who sees themselves in the company vision, and also understands their role and how they contribute to the overall greatness of the organization.

      Cheers,
      Shauna

      • reply TalentCove ,

        Fantastic post, Shauna! Communication should always be a top priority. If it is, things like employee initiative and engagement will be easier to manage.

        Cheers!
        Lolly

        • reply Evergreen Jobs, Community Building, and FEEP - Post Jobs on Facebook – Social Recruiting ,

          […] quote is from a Switch and Shift article called The Employee Trinity: Engaged, Happy and Motivated, by Shauna Sexsmith. In the article she explains how to get the most from your employees by making […]

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