Driving engagement in today's hard and fast workforce

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Driving engagement in today's hard and fast workforce is an interesting issue. As a HR professional, people and performance is at the heart of what I do, and constantly finding new and innovative ways to engage and inspire our sales force is a full time gig.

In the recruitment game we tend to be highly incentive driven, to a large extent motivating from the outside in. We tap into what makes sales people tick, and we dangle the carrot. But let's be honest, anyone can do that. That’s the easy bit. The real question is how do we successfully motivate from the inside out? How do we engage with our people in such a way that the carrot becomes a 'nice to have.' A byproduct of outstanding results stemming from a healthy and happy work force? Here are some of the critical questions I continually ask myself, to keep ahead of the game in engaging and motivating our team.

1. Are your values and your people aligned?

As a starting point, look at the values that underpin your business. What do they mean to you? Are they simply good catch phrases or words that look and sound the part? Or can you honestly say that you hire and fire based on those values. Is there room in your interview process to gauge individuals according to your core values? If not, why not? Having meaningful, constantly communicated values that form the cornerstone of your business is fundamental. It's your foundation. And if you're living and breathing them, so will they.

2. What beliefs do you instill?

People's attitude, behavior and results are driven and defined by what they believe. As a business your culture is largely built on what your people believe. Are the beliefs of your team limiting or empowering? Do your people believe they are treated fairly and with respect? Do they believe that you will follow through on what you promise? Do they believe that they have the necessary resources available to them to do their job effectively? Do they believe that they have the skills to achieve targets? That they work as part of a talented and well respected workforce? Do they believe that they will always be praised and well rewarded for success?

If you don’t know the answers to all of these questions, change that immediately and take the time to find out. It is up to you to instill and cultivate the right beliefs in your people. With the right beliefs comes the right motivation.

3. Do your people feel part of something meaningful?

Successfully motivating from the inside out stems largely from instilling a sense of value and belonging in your people. By creating and being a part of something meaningful. Something more than just the day-to-day grind, more than simply striving for outcomes or targets. What sense of community does your business have? What do your employees value most about the company you run? Creating a sense of family or community isn’t born over night. It takes time, input, diligence, and above all a genuine passion and care for the well being of your people. But it’s the best investment you'll ever make.

4. How well and how often do you recognize and reward?

This is the fun part. Positive reinforcement at its best. How much time and thought do you invest in being creative and cutting edge in recognising and rewarding the right behavior and results? If the answer is 'not enough' then start investing more.

Ensure that your team knows that they will be aptly rewarded in ways they really enjoy. That you will go over and above what others would do, because you want to and because you can. Being generous, creative and sincere in how you reward your employees validates all the hard work you put in to creating the right kind of motivation. The purpose it serves is to reinforce the best of your people, your performance and your results. Celebrate the wins. Make business fun. And keep them coming back for more. Invest well in the little things and the big things will come.

These are my thoughts around creating the right kind of motivation and engagement in today's hard and fast workforce. What are yours? How do you stay ahead of the curve in motivating and engaging your team? I'd love to hear from you.