March 2012
Fruits of Your Labor By Kevin King

Connecting your employees with the mission, vision and values of your organization should be a top priority — one that will result in higher levels of productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.

Human beings learn and grow over their lifetime. At least we hope they do. In the independent garden center world, seasonal workers are often young, unsure, and unable to tell you or themselves what motivates them. In addition, young managers are often not skilled in understanding how to assign resources to roles that encourage engagement. This match involves aligning employees with work assignments that match their interest and motivational needs.

Generally speaking, there are 11 key motivational needs related to what we need from others and prefer in our environment. A few are as follows:

Giving and receiving feedback. A preference for direct and candid feedback, tactful and respectful feedback, or no natural preference and can flex to either style.

Sociability. A preference to be valued by and socialize with others, to work independently and be self-validating, or a mix of both.

Structure. A preference to work from loose guidelines and a more flexible environment, to work from detailed plans and a more organized environment, or a mix of both.

Authority. A preference to work in an environment where objectives and expectations are clear, an environment that is relaxed and the work gets done, or a mix of both.

Teamwork. A preference for a team oriented environment, an environment that is competitive and measurement driven, or a mix of both.

Activity. A preference for an environment that is results/action oriented and fast paced, an environment that allows for planning and opportunities to work on value-added activities (not busy for the sake of being busy), or a mix
of both.

Thought. A preference for an environment where decisions are made quickly and situations are black and white, an environment where they have time to think and do thorough analysis, or a mix of both.

Challenge. A preference for an environment that is success oriented where they believe goals are achievable, an environment where goals are challenging and difficult to achieve, or a mix
of both.

A major focus today, in businesses of all types, is employee engagement. It is the art and science of connecting employees with the mission, vision and values of the organization, the work itself, and to each other. The result is higher levels of productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. People perform better when they like what they are doing and are doing it with people in an environment that satisfies their interest and motivational needs. This has a significant impact on organizational effectiveness and the overall success of an organization._

People are a Competitive Edge_

It is important to know and understand that the only advantage an organization has over a competitor is its people. The people bring to organizations creativity, passion, leadership, productivity, energy, talent and more. If the people are inspired, accountable, connected, communicative, etc., organizational performance is elevated.

Consciousness is where it begins. If the people are conscious the organization will be conscious, for the people make the decisions. The most conscious group within any enterprise must be leadership and management. If they are unconscious they will not be able to engage employees. If employees are not engaged, performance declines._ It’s that simple.

Perception is Powerful_

Personal brand or the perception of management within the organization introduces additional barriers to employee engagement. If managers are not perceived as approachable, open, competent, caring, trustworthy, etc., they will not bear fruit. The fruit effective managers should produce are engagement, retention, profitability, growth, productivity, efficiency, innovation and all of the other performance indicators one could list.

Simply stated, if the manager is conflicted, not personally aligned, the people will see through this and it poses a barrier to engagement. I have yet to meet an inspiring conflicted manager. If they hold others accountable but fail to hold themselves to the same standard, they are doomed to ridicule and their leadership will be resisted. No fruit._

Employee Engagement is Everything_

Part of employee engagement is developing and sustaining a relationship founded on mutual trust and respect. If the relationship between management and employees does not embody mutual trust and respect, the end result is internal conflict between these constituencies, and the price is engagement._

Lastly, an organization that is not engaged in reflection related to its relationship with its employees is likely to become misaligned. Leadership and management may take the position that the employee is a cost center and not an asset and enact policies that erode engagement. Environments characterized by fear and insecurity often fail to bear the fruit of engagement. Employees generally want to be viewed as assets, developed like assets, and treated like assets._

There is a direct link between the concepts presented here and employee engagement. Investment in enhancing the ability of leaders and managers to engage employees produces fruit and fruit produces success.

Kevin King

Kevin L. King is the founder and CEO of Transformation Point (A management consulting firm specializing in employee engagement and team transformation). Kevin is an internationally renowned speaker and a Certified Birkman Method Consultant assisting managers and employees in identifying and acting on their motivational needs. He can be reached at [email protected] or 303.952.5050 x104.


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