Gregg LedermanWhen it comes to employee management and engagement, a large body of research indicates that respect, purpose and relationships are more effective than money. So why are so many organizations still struggling to move the needle on worker engagement?

On this week’s episode of #WorkTrends, we discuss these issues —and a few creative answers — with author and employee engagement expert Gregg Lederman, who shares valuable lessons from his new book, “Crave.”

Lederman is a sought-after speaker, best-selling author and president of employee engagement at Reward Gateway, an employee engagement company. He is also the founder of Brand Integrity, a leadership development and employee engagement company. For the past 16 years he has worked with leading organizations to implement sustainable engagement solutions.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode. This episode is brought to you by our friends Reward Gateway.

A Management Problem

Lederman says he was moved to write his book after diving into the huge body of social science research on employee engagement going back to the 1930s. He started to realize that organizations were either not understanding the research or not deploying it in ways that optimized the engagement in the customer experience.

“It is not the employees’ fault,” he says. “This is a management issue. We have a management engagement crisis.”

Lederman argues that the engagement issue has more of an “energy crisis.” “Companies are buying the energy of their people, and they’re not getting it all because [the employees] are not as motivated and committed to doing what’s best for the company as they could be,” he says.

What People Crave

Lederman says that if you look at the engagement numbers from 2000, when Gallup started first polling on the issue, and compare them with 2018, they have changed by only about 4 percentage points. Meanwhile, he says, the amount of money companies are spending to try to fix the engagement issue is up 115 percent in the past five years.

“That is almost $8 billion spent last year to try to fix the engagement issues that we have,” he says. “Yet engagement is barely budging. The answer is in the book. It’s in the title, frankly — the reason people are not engaged at work is they’re not getting enough of what they crave.”

He says research is clear that motivation is intrinsic, rather than something we do to people, and that you can’t “beg for more or bribe people for it. People are going to decide each day whether or not they are going to tap into that intrinsic motivation and be more committed to the organization.”

Lederman has summarized the research into three concepts. The first thing that humans crave is to be respected for who they are and what they do. The second concept is purpose. “Help me see the purpose, the meaning, the impact of my work,” he says. And the third is relationships, particularly a worker’s relationship with his or her boss.

“You have to learn how to genuinely and very strategically capture and share successes and help people to see that what they do is important and that they matter,” he says. “When you do that, you’re not just showing them respect and helping them see the purpose, you are strengthening a relationship with them.”

10 Minutes by Friday

The subtitle of Lederman’s book is “You Can Enhance Motivation in 10 Minutes by Friday,” which hints at the simple ways he suggests for leaders to implement some of his ideas to boost engagement.

“At least once a month, take 10 minutes to stop, witness and share a success inside your organization of someone living your values, delivering your hospitality experience, doing something to drive your strategy forward — and connect that to a business result,” he says.

“There is a three-step process for how you do the actual recognition to make it strategic, but that’s it: 10 minutes a month if you want to be good. If you want to be amazing, and literally almost instantly become a better leader, challenge yourself to do it 10 minutes a week. It’s not easy, but that’s the 10 minutes by Friday challenge that our organization Reward Gateway is putting out there in front of folks.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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