(yes, I’m a big Dennis Miller fan)
I don’t mean to get off on a rant here, but . . .
It amazes me how quickly the desire to outsource and achieve quick results is leading companies to more and more Compensation solutions for their employee recognition and award programs. Brian Tracy, in his book Something For Nothing introduces the E (expediency) Factor. This theory describes everybody as:
lazy, greedy, selfish, ambitious, vain, ignorant, and impatient.
At the same time we all strive to fulfill our needs to get as much:
safety, security, comfort, leisure, love, respect, and fulfillment.
In other words, we are all looking for expediency!
The down side of this view of human nature leads to an entitlement culture where everybody is on welfare and complaining that the government doesn‘t do enough for them. The positive side is Bill Gates – creative people using human nature along with ingenuity to create ways to make life easier and more productive. It’s not the nature, but how it is applied that’s the key.
All of the research shows that Behaviorist, Left Brain “Carrot and Stick” approaches not only insult employees, but are only able to achieve the minimum acceptable performance, yet they are heavily promoted today. Why? You guessed it . . . because they are expedient! Some of the major companies in the recognition and awards industry are using this weakness of human character to take advantage of their customers by promoting quick-ship retail gifts as the best way to achieve employee appreciation among today’s Generation X and Y employees.
Sadly, if you ask employees what they want for recognition awards, they will usually say cash or a day off – both compensation solutions that support the above scenario. However, if you ask psychologists what the survey results say about human motivation, the top motivators are emotional – LOVE ME, RESPECT ME, INVOLVE ME. You can’t buy these things, you must earn them with genuine appreciation, trust, and communication. So why the big communication disconnect?
I am convinced that the very act of asking employees what they prefer demonstrates that you don’t “get it” and you really don’t care. When they realize that you are only interested in recognition because you have to (what’s in it for you), they sigh, emotionally throw up their hands and give you the pat answer, “ . . . just show me the money”. Research consistently shows that while Love and Respect rate high on the “What Makes Me Feel Engaged at Work” scale, Money and Job Security come in somewhere in the middle. When managers are asked how they “think” employees respond to engagement surveys, they tend to put Money and Job Security at the top and Recognition (Love) and Keep Me Informed (Respect) at the bottom – no wonder the way they treat their employees is often insulting and demotivating – “You’re on a need-to-know basis, now here’s a few bucks, get back to work!”
Technology is not helping the situation. As they strive for expediency, companies are finding more ways to fully outsource their programs. Points can be awarded online. Employees can log on to a web site, see huge product selections, order today and shipped have the items shipped right to their homes in a matter of days.
In his book High Tech-High Touch futurist John Naisbitt warns of this danger. He claims that if companies don’t develop a “high-touch strategy” employee’s feel more and more like just cogs in a big machine. Relying too heavily on web-based recognition promotes this lack of touch in a powerful way.
It’s been said that the only “Quality Time” is “Quantity Time” and just like your kids, employees quickly see through your excuses and justifications. If you don’t demonstrate you “really care” then all the dangled carrots in the world are only seen as more ways to “buy ‘em off.” I don’t care what generation you’re from, this is not a good feeling!
The answer is educational. If managers better understand how employees think, demonstrate honest, genuine appreciation and approach employees from their Right Brain, Emotional side; employees will respond with improved Attitudes, better Morale, and will bring enhanced Discretionary Effort to work automatically. You get more productivity, less wasted time, better longevity, less sick time, more concentration, more referrals, less grumbling . . .
Most employees want to be more involved, more productive, more profitable and more responsible, if you just let them. It’s not about money, bonuses and goodies, as much as it’s about a perception that they are truly valued. Then, they bring all the good stuff for free!
. . . that’s just my opinion; I could be wrong!
If you’d like to know more about how this can happen at your company, visit me at www.SchaeferRecognitionGroup.com.