By Debbie Carter, RN, BSN
Positive versus negative, good versus bad, reward versus punishment, right versus wrong. All of these options motivate behavior, but which promote success by engaging employees in the endo bay?
As a manager I have come to realize that motivating employees is a very difficult task and that creating positive behavior changes is even tougher. In order for an organization to be productive, competitive, and to produce quality work, employees have to be motivated and engaged. If employees are engaged, they care about the quality of their work, their company’s values, and the role they play in assisting in the company’s success.
They will invest their time and effort at work in a productive way that is mutually beneficial to themselves and the company. The million-dollar question is, “How do I achieve that?"
First of all, let's address what motivation is. Motivation is a psychological feature that arouses an organism to take action toward a desired goal. It's the reason for the action and gives purpose and direction to behavior.
What is engagement? It is to enlist, to gain over, to win and attach, to attract and hold, to draw, to want to be involved.
According to a recent survey, only 29 percent of employees are engaged in their workplace. Companies with disengaged employees experience higher absenteeism, turnover rates and operational expenses. Companies must look for ways to create a productive workforce and engage employees in order to be successful in today’s competitive society.
In my career, I have realized that most companies use policies to manage and control employee performance based on the negative, i.e., punishment for wrong action. In other words they manage employees using fear. For example, if an employee is late, there is some sort of punishment, citation, etc., related to that behavior. Does using fear engage employees? Does it promote trust, success, and promote behavior change?
Fear will promote behavior change, but it does not promote trust or success, which are two essential elements for motivated employees. Employees working for companies that use this type of management are not performing because they care about the company’s values or in playing a role in making it a success; they perform and conform because they need income. So, this practice will produce behavioral changes but it does not produce engaged employees. I too used the negative to achieve behavioral changes, but soon learned there is a better way.
With my staff I try to promote the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
If employees feel appreciated and cared for, often, their performance will be optimal, turnover rates and absenteeism will be low, and operational expenses will decrease. In short, you will have engaged, motivated employees.