How To Have Employees Fully Engaged And Nurtured By What They Are Doing

Written collaboratively by Michele Clay & Mark Kamin

In the 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace study, Gallup found that 67% of employees do not like their jobs or where they work. Employees overwhelmingly only work to get a paycheck. There is a particular culture that goes with that kind of mindset – where employees are not fully engaged, nor are they fulfilled by the work they do. 

When people are really engaged – where their workplace belongs to them in much the same way it belongs to the shareholders, they have a stake in the success of the organization – a real stake. They become STAKE-HOLDERS.

In your organization, the number of people who do not like their job or where they work may be lower than 67%, but the odds are that the percentage of people who are not fulfilled in their job is staggeringly high.

“Surviving” work is very distinct from working in a way that you can see your work makes a contribution. The resignation people have that it’s even possible that one can be fulfilled and effective at a great company, is so pervasive that not being fulfilled looks normal.

There are cultural aspects to every organization and every leadership team that contribute to the kinds of breakdowns that pollute, contaminate and damage a culture (a work environment):

  1. Talk is misunderstood as communication – there is almost no “real” communication
  2. People do not honor their word as essential to being effective* – in organizations, people mostly “kind of” honor their word, which is like thinking there is such a thing as being “kind of” pregnant

Very few organizations have a culture that empowers and supports people impeccably honoring their commitments and managing their commitments with real integrity.

So, how does honoring your word fit together with having a culture that supports employees being engaged and fulfilled in their work?

Having a leader who honors their word and having a team of people who are, individually, reliable for honoring their word, leaves all of the parties involved relating to each other, and to the future, as reliable, trustworthy, confident, confident their contribution matters, leaves employees with that they can respect and get behind their leaders, and most of all, it makes a future that may “seem” impossible, possible*. 

People will be unstoppable, gear-up to scale the highest mountains, and bust through the most difficult of barriers for that kind of partnership.  People taking action and dealing with what it takes to be in action, designed inside of a world created with reliable partners, are left with vitality, aliveness, delight, and a fervor for the work and the team that is just simply not available in any other way than through honoring your word.  Therefore, we say honoring your word is essential to being engaged and fulfilled.  In other words, being engaged and fulfilled, one could say, is a state of real integrity**.

Work can and should be fulfilling.  However, without creating a culture for real integrity, an overwhelming number of employees work to get a paycheck and “survive” their jobs from Monday ‘til Friday.

If 67% of people don’t find work to be empowering – how in the world would it be possible to have effective interactions with the customer in a way that the customer experiences they are dealing with a great company…?  People who hate (or even “don’t like”) their job do not leave customers “WOW’d” by the experience of the companies where they work.

In reality, people are cutting corners in the way they do their jobs much of the time, and the quality of their work and their work experience reflects that.  The workplace is filled with the pretense of “real work” to hide actual behaviors that are far less than doing things the way they should be done.  The gossiping, the complaining, and the other forms of grumbling in almost all organizations are the tip of an iceberg.  That iceberg being a culture of undermining and haphazard, negligent and passive commitment.

The result:  Missed deadlines, confusion, upsets, frustration, complaining, poor communication, no communication, increase in costs, increased turnover, reduction in revenue, reduction in profitability, poor service to customers, and no chance of long-term sustainability.

The culture of most companies is CYA, turf wars, “looking good”, being “right”, hurt feelings, and ego trips.

Human beings are not only good at lying to others, human beings are really good at lying to themselves.  Here at Mark Kamin & Associates, we distinguish this special type of lying to ourselves as inauthentic communication.

In an environment thick with inauthentic communication – you can forget about real partnering: performance degrades, sales are short of what they can be, and turnover goes up.  There are few or no attempts of real partnering, and there is likely no real communication happening.

Mark Kamin & Associates (“MKA”) has been in business for over 36 years.  We have worked with several thousand organizations to successfully implement an approach to organizational culture that provides extreme integrity, high accountability, and real communication.  Exemplified by the COO of one of our clients, an Award-Winning Top 10 Chevrolet Dealer in the United States:

“Our recent success pattern of increased profitability, acquisition of another dealership, and sales growth has an obviously strong correlation to the work we have done with MKA.

We are able to attract and hire awesome people who are open to participating in our customized training and coaching programs, where we build our talented teams to operate at their full potential that would otherwise remain untapped. We are privileged to receive many awards recognizing our exceptional results.

We continue to “pour into” our people, and in return, they bring a new genuineness to our workplace. Every person has the opportunity to grow, contribute in fulfilling ways, and make a difference for our customers, our community, and with each other. We can see our people’s passion and joy expressed every day, so the service we provide to our customers and community is authentic and boundless.” – 2016

We can build a company and management team like this for you.

*Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model© Copyright 2008-2016 W. Erhard, M. Jensen, Landmark Worldwide LLC. All rights reserved. 19 November 2016

** Erhard, Werner and Jensen, Michael C. and Zaffron, Steve, Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics and Legality (March 23, 2009). Harvard Business School NOM Working Paper No. 06-11; Barbados Group Working Paper No. 06-03; Simon School Working Paper No. FR 08-05.

Read Other Featured Articles