As one who has dedicated the better part of his life to finding the Holy Grail of Employee Engagement, I am consistently in the trenches trying to find what works and what needs to change. This requires 4 a.m. conference calls with other regions of the world, speaking at and attending conferences of various disciplines and driving technical deployments that are massively complex in scale. Every day presents new challenges, every organization wants something different and no concept seems impossible to bring to reality.
The studies that promote global employee dissatisfaction are flawed. The method for research is outdated and the means by which information is collected/benchmarked are disingenuous.
Those of us who have conversations with corporate business leaders and those who serve them every day have developed solutions for gaps in performance, but it all remains based in the human condition:
People want to work for a cause they believe in.
People want to believe that their effort makes a difference.
People are no longer willing to be bullied into keeping a job.
With the above in mind, I proposed a road map for building an organization's Employee Value Proposition to a group of Human Resource professionals earlier this week. To my shock, one workshop attendee stood up and said:
We are willing to train our employees but only to the extent of their job requirement. If they learn anything more, they will leave.
... This is an extremely misguided construct that (unfortunately) was not unanimously disputed.
We live in a time when individual employee brands are stronger than those of the organizations for which they work. In the gig economy, employees of all ages are finding comfort in short term employment and are willing to adjust their lifestyles accordingly. Respect for tradition is rampant, obedience to authoritarianism will not be tolerated.
Seeing a member of a major technology company's sales enablement team emphasize the concept of Intrepreneurship to our workforce last week made all the sense in the world. She focused on the following as a means for employee development:
This format for employee development hits the scale of intrinsic motivators. Is it disappointing that this came from a Sales Enablement Leader and not from HR?
The alpha-male constructed rules for advancement are dead. Micro-management is over. Competition has taken a backseat to collaboration. Idea generation is now social and no longer confined to silos.
In short, people who do great work, climb! Politics are no longer an excuse for promotion...and we have all-accessible data to validate the climb!
As organizations, we are called upon to provide learning and advancement opportunities for employees at all levels. Advancement applicable to core-job-function, and beyond that, soft skill enhancements for the sake of Culture Building and Leadership Development.
Employees now have the opportunity to:
- Contribute to organizational development (regardless of their pecking order).
- Master the core-function of their given position at their own pace.
- The ability to develop as a professional beyond the control of their manager.
- To be promoted by the pure virtue of their effort, creativity and degree of collaboration.
It's here. The time is now. Lead, follow or get out of the way!
Originally published on Dave's Weekly Thought blog.