How do employers develop employee engagement in their businesses and workplaces? We’ve all heard about the heavenly working conditions at Google and other legendary companies. Does that mean everyone should provide free food all day and nap pods to have an engaged and committed workforce? Not according to Sentis founder Adam DePaula, managing partner Julie Winram, and vice president Mary Bacica. They caution against blanket programs that treat engagement efforts as one size fits all solutions, mistakenly making the same investment in every employee even though not every employee has the same level of engagement or disengagement.
Different Employees Have Different Motivators
DePaula, Winram, and Bacica have identified four different employee segments, differing by their engagement levels and length of time they can be expected to stay in their jobs. They describe strivers, committed, disgruntled, and detached as four main employee segments. There are long-term employees who are not fully engaged because they are detached and highly engaged employees who will probably not stay long because they are strivers and want to move to the next level as fast as possible. With such different work focuses, one engagement effort for the entire employee group won’t be as effective as identifying different types of employees and providing the right kinds of motivators. DePaula and associates also caution against making generalizations about what motivates different generations in engagement efforts.
Generational Differences Matter to Engagement
Peter McKelvie also cautions against a one-size-fits-all engagement strategy but advises paying attention to the different motivational preferences of different generations. He says that traditionalists (1927-1945), baby boomers (1946-1964), Gen X (1965-1983), Millennials (1984-2002), and Gen Z (2003-current) have distinctly different lifestyles, work ethics, and loyalty factors. Baby boomers are motivated by salary and recognition while Gen X wants work/life balance. Millennials are comfortable and engaged with technology and a social life and want that at work.
Check Out Your Engagement Drivers
McKelvie discusses 15 distinct engagement drivers that employers must consider when evaluating individual employee motivators. SHRM’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Reports identified interesting and achievable goals, good relationships with supervisors, and challenging and interesting work as top engagement factors. Towers Watson research revealed opportunities for learning, development, and training, and recognition and appreciation to be highly effective engagement boosters, with recognition rocketing engagement by as much as 60 percent!
How to Find Out What Motivates Your Employees
Writing for Incentivemag.com, Sean Conrad advises employers to find out what motivates their employees by asking them. He says the added benefit to asking is that it’s a motivator in itself to discuss employee values, personal goals, and passions because it shows them their employer cares about, respects, and values them. Conrad suggests making discussions of what motivates employees part of regular performance reviews, make note of what is discussed, and use the information to plan individual incentives.
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