Do you use The Carrot or The Big Stick Approach? Or as more and more modern businesses are thankfully doing (big and small) are you using ‘The Engage (& Prosper) Approach’?
Carrots (motivate or can do). The Big Stick (can demotivate if used incorrectly). The Engage (& Prosper) Approach uses incentives, (carrots) and accountability and consequences (the big sticks metaphorically speaking) to drive high performing company cultures. Isn’t it all about balance? i believe everything is about balance.
Read more: Can an Employer be too ‘nice’ to their employees?
Does this sound familiar? “They get paid don’t they?” ,“They should do the job they are paid to do”. “Why do we need to do even more that pay them and give them holiday, pensions etc? Or develop or train them? Just so someone else can come and poach them and they leave?”
These are typical comments and phrases I have heard from business owners, leaders and managers over the years, when talking about employee engagement issues and staff appreciation. And I do sincerely sympathise with their comments, experiences and thoughts, as it’s true mostly in their experience. Yet isn’t that true about most things that don’t go to plan. When you just analyse the failings, the losses and don’t analyse the successes the positive ones? Pain is more impactful than pleasure and we seek more often and apply more energy in trying to avoid it, than we do to create positive environments and experiences of pleasure and joy. Why? Avoiding pain is fundamental to our psyche and is mostly about survival. Yet when we focus on positives and the pleasure, connections and fun in life and experiences, we want to do it more often because we enjoy it. Who wants to work with miserable people?
So these comments, we pay them don’t we. It’s quite outdated as a perspective if you want the best people to join your company, help you grow it and provide a great customer experience too as well as make it a fun, positive engaging place to work or work for. It’s not too much to ask as an employee or employer is it?
There is a contract of employment and yes as a business and employer you are paying your employees to do their job.
However, if we consider other contracts and relationships, like marriage, that’s a contract too, and it’s a mutual one, which often only works well and stands the test of time (with least disagreement and the most harmony possible) when both parties are pulling in the same direction, aligned, communicating regularly and well, appreciating each others individual and unique contribution and aiming for the same outcomes or at least have shared goals much of the time.
You don’t buy surprises or gifts for your loved one just because you have to, it’s not in the contract, you do it, when you do, as you feel you want to, you know it’s needed and you do it in the hope of continuing the harmony and mutual investment in the relationship. You show you care and appreciate your partner beyond the day-to-day of life’s stresses and operations. In essence, you go the extra mile and at times, you apply extra over and above the normal effort or actions. In behavioural economics we call in discretionary effort.
So what is the right balance of being ‘nice’ as an employer, or being regarded as a good employer or an employer of choice, when you are trying to retain your talented employees, and stop them being poached by competitors or to help you attract the very best new ones as you grow? How do you encourage and harness that discretionary effort from employees. By being a great employer and leadership team.
It’s true some businesses can be too kind to employees at times, by being overly accommodating, which can lead to a lack of productivity and accountability. When businesses are too lenient or too soft as its often described with their employees, they may allow for excessive absences or tardiness, ignore poor performance or provide too many perks at the expense of company goals. That has a detrimental effect on the productive and high performing employees left managing the extra workload. Not forgetting the cost of the absence and repeated absences, low moral this tolerance then has on the rest of the workforce. Have a look at and calculate just how costly staff absence can be on your business. You might be surprised and motivated to do something about it asap. Take a look at the cost of attrition calculator too as that may also be a surprise. It’s not just inconvenient when good employees leave, it’s expensive.
To help address this issue, businesses should establish clear expectations and guidelines for employee behaviour and performance. This includes setting measurable goals, providing regular feedback, offering training and development opportunities and implementing consequences for poor performance. It’s also important for businesses to strike a balance between being supportive and firm when it comes to managing employees. By doing so, they can create a positive work environment that encourages growth and success while still holding employees accountable for their actions.
Here are just five tips you can consider today, on how to make employees more productive and fulfilled at work:
- Provide opportunities for growth and development: Offer training programs, workshops, and mentoring opportunities to help employees expand their skills and knowledge. This can help them feel more engaged in their work and motivated to achieve their goals.
- Foster a positive work environment: Encourage open communication, collaboration, and respect among team members. This can create a supportive atmosphere that promotes creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.
- Recognise achievements: Celebrate employee accomplishments and personal milestones, through public recognition or rewards programs. This can boost morale, increase motivation, and reinforce good performance.
- Allow flexibility: Offer flexible schedules or remote work options to accommodate different lifestyles and needs of your employees. This can help them better balance work with personal responsibilities which will lead to less stress.
- Promote wellness: Encourage healthy habits such as regular exercise breaks, healthy food options in the cafeteria or vending machines, mental health support services etc including EAP programmes.. A focus on wellness can improve overall productivity by keeping employees physically healthy while also addressing any mental health concerns they may have.
By implementing these tips into the workplace culture businesses can create an environment where employees feel valued, supported and empowered to do their best work every day!
If you want to embark on your own CoLab Culture Club journey with me get in touch today.
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Engage & Prosper is a UK based privately owned Employee Engagement Consultancy and Social Enterprise, on a mission to help organisations develop a highly productive and fulfilling workplace culture, with their people, through enhanced employee engagement strategies, fabulous and effective internal communications platforms and tailored reward and recognition programmes.
For more information on Engage & Prosper or to discover how we can help you achieve your organisational and people goals please call +44 (0) 330 223 0464 or find out more at www.engageandprosper.com