Thursday, October 09, 2008

What People Want

Are you inspiring your staff or motivating them one task, one project at a time? One is sustainable and energizing and the other is task oriented and expensive energy. There have been many studies undertaken over the years to look at employee retention, growth of rising stars, employee satisfaction and morale etc, and most of them generate the same conclusions. Studies look at why morale might be low and how this organizational culture might enable poor staff retention. It’s just as important to look at what’s being done to counteract and reverse those trends as it is to study the dynamics and reactions because of them.

In symposia, conferences and around board room tables we are continually delving into what people wanted from their workplace relationships. It goes beyond levels of position to the impact of cultural differences, gender, age and intensity of workload.

The similarities of the 'new staffers' and the 'almost ready to retire staffers' is quite amazing actually. Among other things, what both age groups want is respect.

If morale is low, what are the ramifications? Is there a mass exodus, and if so, how long would anyone want to work for an organization with such massive turnover? You’re always back to square one starting over as you train and retrain new people. However it’s not enough to do these studies and then park the results, even the reasons behind what those results are showing. People take jobs because of people and they leave jobs because of people.

As an Executive Shadow Coach™ I look at trends, cultures, and organizational climate, however it’s not the organization but the individuals within these organizations that create change and make the difference. What are the behaviors that aren’t serving them? Is leadership trying to motivate staff or inspire them to do their best all the time? There is a huge difference between motivating and inspiring. The first comes from an external influence such as perhaps a raise, a bonus or award or even to meet stiff deadlines.

Motivating is expensive energy. Inspiring one to be their best, do their best and recognize and speak to their and each other’s best brings a whole new level of energy to an organization. Take for example a policy that shows staff “I caught you doing something good”. It’s not about a prize or bonus but recognition that people have noticed an individual or group’s good work, creativity, effectiveness and leadership. Don’t you think staff will want to do their best on a regular basis they know people are paying attention? That’s not task oriented, it’s fundamental changes in ‘ways of being’ and communicating. For some, what they crave the most is hearing the words "Thank you".

Donna Karlin

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