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How can I increase employee engagement.

The two easiest two actions managers can take to increase job satisfaction, motivation and engagement are also the most impactful. They cost nothing, everyone can do it and it is all proven by human psychology.


First “Tell them they are doing great.”

Second “Give them more freedom to work in their own way”


These two options are related to a sense of competency and a sense of autonomy. They come from a part of psychology called self-determination theory or SDT.

Competency and Autonomy are two of three causes of the internal motivation we can give our people. The third comes from people experiencing sense of belonging. With these three ideas we can truly engage people in an inherent, non-risk, non-fear and non-monetary way.


Carrot and stick employee motivation

Trying to improve the third cause “an employee’s sense of belonging” is also something we can impact as a leader. Fostering a positive and inclusive team culture is always worth the effort to increase staff loyalty and commitment. Increase employee engagement like this!


Team members who feel like they are part of a supportive and fun group are far more (intrinsically) motivated.


The main areas of focus to bring about positive team culture are:

1. Trust

2. Transparency

3. Defining and following values

4. Regular feedback

5. Team bonding

6. Recognition / Celebrating success.


The three approaches of creating a sense of competency, autonomy and belonging are the key triggers for intrinsic (or internal) motivation. The opposite of which is extrinsic motivation, or an incentive from “a carrot or a stick.”


There is a place for boosting extrinsic motivation, however it should always be seen as a secondary and not a primary option. We cannot rely purely on the use of carrots and sticks. We are not always able to offer someone salary increases, promote them, or give them bonuses. We need other levers in our tool box when these are not possible. Extrinsic motivators are more short-lived devices than more personal and nourishing intrinsic motivators.


Let us say we now have an understanding of intrinsic motivation from the psychologists who came up with it. ( Deci and Ryan). We have taken SDT theory and we have exploited to our best advantage and capitalised on the engagement available from raising intrinsic motivation. We have created a great culture, helped our staff feel that they are competent and have autonomy in their roles. What next?


Here are 5 top areas of focus to work on.


1. Ensure everyone has clarity of goals and expectations.

Is everyone clear on direction? Do they understand priorities? Are there a realistic and reasonable number of key priorities that are synergistic? Are their responsibilities crystal clear and recorded and communicated.

2. Foster people development with vulnerability from leaders

Demonstrate as a leader your fallibility and your areas of focus for growth and lead the way into personal development by inviting your team to work on their development areas.

3. Build an open communication and feedback culture

Meet regularly, encourage constructive challenge and discussion address concerns, gather input.

4. Address issues fast

Unresolved issues or concerns are a bigger drain on motivation that poor company performance. Face into problems and keep communicating. If you don’t have the answers reference the issue and promise to keep the team updated to create trust and clarity.

5. Promote work life balance

Your staff need to be vital, energised and functioning. This comes from adequate rest and avoiding an excess of stress or hours of work. Lead by example and demonstrate a good balance.


Book a meeting with us today to discuss how we can step change your team performance.

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