When they did their research around the Power of Full Engagement, Loehr and Schwartz found that most people reported they are partly or largely disengaged at work. Gallup estimates a cost to US businesses in excess of $300 billion due to employee disengagement. Companies often rely on employee engagement surveys to guide their development efforts, but those efforts often miss important areas or don’t go far enough.
With so much at stake, how can you ensure that you are creating a climate of engagement for your employees? We gain some insight from Daniel Pink’s whiteboard animation video on Drive, where we learn that the 3 factors that lead to higher performance and personal satisfaction are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. In other words, people want to have some control over their job, be great at the work they do, and know that their work matters. The Harvard Business Review further synthesized the research and discovered that in order to create a climate of engagement, 4 basic needs must be met:
The need to acquire
The need to bond
The need to comprehend
The need to defend
We also tackled this topic in the chapter E is for Engagement, in The ABCs of Energy-Based Leadership. As illustrated in this book, the energy patterns are a great frame for synthesizing all of this research, and building a climate of engagement. If you read my recent post on video game design, this list may look familiar, as these same factors of human personality are also key to designing products that appeal to the human psyche. Likewise for designing climate, the energy patterns of FEBI can help you ensure that your climate is meeting needs that are basic to human personality. Does your climate meet the Driver’s need to acquire, with enough challenging goals to push people forward? Does your climate meet the Organizer’s need to defend as it seeks safety, stability and consistency within its environment? (Taken together, the Driver/Organizer patterns also relate to Pink’s needs for autonomy and mastery) Does your climate meet the Collaborator’s need to bond, connecting with others and building relationships? Does your climate meet the Visionary’s need to comprehend, connecting with the purpose and seeking understanding? In order to create a climate of engagement, ALL these needs must be met. Nohria et al. found in their research that a low showing in any one of these 4 dimensions resulted in a significant decline in engagement.
To help you discover if your climate is currently meeting the needs required for engagement, download the engagement worksheet. You can also learn about other applications of the energy patterns with The ABCs of Energy-Based Leadership.