Building a Culture of Engagement with RESPECT™
By Paul Marciano, Author, Consultant, Speaker
“Leading with RESPECT”
Over the past decade research around the world has demonstrated the link between employee engagement and organizational vitality on a number of measures including productivity, profitability, quality, retention, and safety. Naturally, organizations have responded by putting programs into place to increase engagement. Unfortunately, many have failed because they have attempted to use the same traditional reward and recognition programs that they tried to use to motivate their employees.
Motivation and engagement are different. Motivation involves increasing one’s efforts to reach a desired outcome – this leads to “carrot and stick” approaches and short term changes in behavior. Once the carrot or stick is removed, the behavior returns to baseline levels. In fact, most traditional reward and recognition programs not only fail to increase the overall morale and engagement of a workforce, they often decrease it.
In contrast, employee engagement refers to a sense of commitment, dedication, and loyalty that leads to high levels of discretionary effort over time. “Programs” do not instill engagement because they do not affect the culture of the organization. Culture leads to behavior and behavior reinforces culture. If we want to create meaningful changes in the engagement of our workforce, we need to impact the culture of our organization.
My experience and research over the past 20 years has led me to one simple conclusion: Employee engagement depends on respect and on creating a culture of respect within the organization. Organizations with the most highly engaged employees exist where employees respect their organization, respect the leadership of the organization – especially their direct supervisor, respect the work that they do, respect their fellow team members, and feel respected.
Supervisors and organizational leaders can demonstrate and foster respect in 7 critical ways:
Recognition: Thanking employees and acknowledging their contributions on a daily basis
Empowerment: Providing employees with the tools, resources, training, and information they need to be successful
Supportive Feedback: Giving ongoing performance feedback – both positive and corrective
Partnering: Fostering a collaborative working environment
Expectation Setting: Establishing clear performance goals and holding employees accountable
Consideration: Demonstrating thoughtfulness, empathy, and kindness
Trust: Demonstrating faith and belief in their employees’ skills, abilities, and decisions
RESPECT is not a program. Rather, it is an actionable philosophy that leads to specific behaviors and impacts organizational culture. If your goal is to create highly engaged and dedicated employees, then spend some part of everyday showing them RESPECT!