Your business relies on having access to key staff with the right mix of skills and knowledge. Retaining those staff in the business can be critical to your future success, however, you also need to keep them engaged so they continue to perform at their best.
We’ve all worked with staff who reached a point where they mentally or emotionally checked out or became disengaged, which meant their enthusiasm for the work diminished and so did their results.
In her “Three Secrets to Success” model, Jennifer Elliott talked about the six elements of engagement that leaders need to consider for each person working in your business. We all have these same needs, but in varying degrees, so recognising what different people need and adjusting the role accordingly, can pave the way for your staff to engage more fully and bring their best work.
The six elements are:
- Degree of Challenge – some people really like to be stretched and pushed while others want more predictability and safety. If you push people too far beyond what they want, they react badly, but conversely, if they’re not getting enough challenge to satisfy them, they’ll get bored and either leave, or even worse, they’ll staff and cause problems.
- Elbow Room – this is all about how much autonomy your staff need and whether they like to take lots of responsibility for work or somewhat less. If you micromanage someone who likes lots of elbow room, they’ll walk out the door, while other people want more hand-holding and regular check-ins to make sure they’re on track.
- Opportunity for Learning – we’re hard wired to continue growing and learning new things but our individual appetite for this will vary. Talk to your people about where their interests lie and providing training and stretch opportunities for on-the-job learning to satisfy this need … and watch them thrive.
- Mutual Support and Respect – In the book “Hardwired Humans”, author Andrew O’Keefe talks about the fact that we view our team at work like a surrogate family and need to feel a sense of belonging and connection. This means we need to feel valued by those around us at work and need to want to support or colleagues. Remember, more people leave a job because they don’t like their manager than for any other reason.
- Meaningfulness of the Work – to a greater or lesser degree, we all need to do work that is meaningful to us and in which we have a personal investment. As a leadership coach, I find tremendous meaning in working with executives and business owners to achieve their leadership potential. I transitioned from a very successful career as a journalist and PR consultant when I discovered coaching because of the level of meaning and purpose this work has for me.
- Availability of a Desirable Future – people need to feel that there are future opportunities for them in your organisation or they will look elsewhere for their next role. By taking time to understand their aspirations and identifying opportunities for them to work towards, you can maximise their loyalty and commitment to your business.
Remember, how much challenge, elbow room or any of the other elements someone needs are different for each person so get to know your tea members, what they need to be engaged and as much as possible, tailor their role to match their needs.
When you do, you’ll see them excited about coming to work and delivering results at a level that might surprise you. When people feel engaged with work, they experience work as a form of play. And who wouldn’t like to play for 8-10 hours every day?!
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