Wednesday

Six Ways to Engage People in Tough Times


It's difficult enough to engage and motivate people, but given our current economic climate, it seems almost impossible. Almost. Bestselling author Ken Thomas has six proven ways to engage, motivate, and help your talent glow:

1. Pay attention to the day-to-day rewards that sustain their attention and enthusiasm. We often think of motivation as wanting something. Instead, focus on what keeps people going — what are they getting right now that motivates them?

2. Focus on intrinsic rewards -— the satisfactions people get directly from their work. Money is a factor in choosing a job, but people remain and stay engaged largely because of these satisfactions.

3. Provide a meaningful purpose.
Work activities are empty for people unless they contribute to an overall worthwhile purpose. “Do this,” doesn’t engage people. “Help make this happen,” does.

4. Recognize the importance of visible and measurable progress. It isn’t enough to just pursue an important purpose. To keep up enthusiasm for any project, people need credible evidence that their ongoing efforts are getting results towards that purpose.

5. Give individuals as much choice as they can handle
. Making informed choices is a key way people can add value in their work, and a way for them to see their footprints in the progress being made.

6. Provide constructive interpretations of events. Remember how much it helped when friends or family helped you regain perspective when you were discouraged? Without ignoring negative events, help people appreciate the positives in their purposes, progress, and competence -- and remember to keep doing this on an ongoing basis.

Check out Ken's Work Engagement Profile for more details.

Are there any others that should have been included in this list? What do you think of the techniques listed above? Tell us.

27 comments:

Jay Slosar said...

these are helpful but more is required in today's business environment. More emphais needs to be placed on self-control and regulation. Today's leaders will have the coursge to supervise, monmitor and regulate. This is a different set of skills-- it is a much harder type of engagement.

Roberto Vargas said...

This is time of Obama and of advancing changes for the common good. Let's provide that framing for our teams and explore how we can make a positive difference for ourselves, our clients, our company, our city, etc. Let's inspire ourselves and those around us to see the opportunities of change. This is essential because still to come are the challenges related to global warming, water and food scarcity, and more. Let's begin developing the new work and lifestyles that helps us create a sustainable future.
www.robertovargas.com

BK said...

I am thrilled to announce that the State of Washington's Association of Cities has requested permission to reprint this list in their newsletter. Well done, Ken!

Jeevan said...

I agree with some of what Jay is saying. Engagement and motivation is really tough in this environment and it does take a deeper level of engagement, but I think these six ways are the gateway for that deeper level.

Johanna said...

I think it's motivating to understand how the work I'm doing contributes to the big picture goals of the organization. I've always appreciated it when my supervisors help me see the impact, and I can see others motivated by that, too. In the end, it's much more motivating to be moving the needle on some big goal than to be just completing a process or a task.

Ken Thomas said...

Research shows that work has changed dramatically to require exactly the sort of self-control (or self-management)that Jay mentions. That's the way engagement shows up in our behavior. My book is about the intrinsic rewards that keep people self-managing. Roberto's comments touch on the sense of meaningfulness we get from having a shared, important purpose. To keep people engaged we also need a sense of progress (that we are actually moving forward in accomplishing that purpose), a sense of choice (that we can select ways of contributing to that purpose that we believe will work), and a sense of competence (that we are doing our individual parts well). This seems true for keeping people engaged in any task over time--including natinal change.

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