I’m also finding a high degree of disconnect between executive and employee assumptions about company culture and engagement. For example, a recent Deloitte survey summarized over at Mashable found that while 65% of executives think financial performance is the most important factor for company culture, only 24% of employees agree.
And while 62% of the surveyed executives believe compensation is an essential component of company culture, only 33% of employee agree.
What do employee actually want? According the same survey, they place the highest value on candid communications (50%), employee recognition (49%) and access to management (47%).
The impact of social media on employee engagement is also poorly understood by executives. Nearly half of the executives surveyed (45%) also placed a high value on the importance of social media for building company culture because it allows managers to be more transparent, helps build and maintain relationships within the organization, and fosters a feeling of connection to the company and its leadership. However, only 27% of employees agree that social media does any such thing.
Bit of a shame, really, all those executives taking the time to have someone write a blog for them…and no one appreciates it.
Another article Freedom not Pay is the Best Motivation stresses the importance of freedom, flexible working arrangements and a bit of fun over cash for motivating employees. That’s fabulous news for cash-strapped companies, although if you’re cash strapped AND understaffed you may have to resort to unpopular measures like recognizing people for a job well done.
According to my eloquent Café colleague Derek Irvine, even executives would accept less pay for a bit of recognition so recognition may be a widely untapped field of motivational opportunity.
But wait! Another contraction. In an interesting article at TLNT about employee engagement, Timothy Clark documents a study by Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer about what employees want and how leaders can use this information to improve performance. They concluded that recognition and fun are less important to employees than career development and respect:
“The most important managerial behaviors don’t involve giving people daily pats on the back or attempting to inject lighthearted fun into the workplace. Rather, they involve two fundamental things: enabling people to move forward in their work, and treating them decently as human beings.”
So… what do employees want again? First of all, they don’t seem to want what executives think they want. After that it either gets complicated or extremely simple, depending on your viewpoint: They want to be recognized and involved in decisions that impact them but that’s just basic company culture 101.
To really motivate someone you need to take a real interest in what they want to achieve and help them achieve it.
It’s that simple. And it’s that complex.
Laura Schroeder is a global talent specialist at Workday, headquartered in Pleasanton, CA. She has nearly fifteen years of experience envisioning, designing, developing, implementing and evangelizing global Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions and holds a certificate in Strategic Human Resources Practices from Cornell University. Her articles and interviews on HCM topics have been published in the US, Europe and Asia. She lives in Munich, Germany and enjoys cooking, reading, writing, kick boxing (well, kicking things) and spending time with friends and family. If you want to read more from Laura, check out her talent management blog Working Girl or follow her on Twitter @WorkGal.
Picture courtesy of allmoviephoto.com.