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March, 2007 EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT VOL 1, NO.

The Five Drivers of Employee Engagement


Why 5, Why These 5 and Why 5 Emotional Drivers
BY BRADY WILSON

The Five Drivers of Engagement

For years Juice Inc. has been on a quest to Brilliance is often found in the tension. Our goal was
discover which core emotional needs are most crucial to discover a list that would be simple yet
for employees in the workplace. Standing on the comprehensive. After witnessing the quick uptake of
shoulders of some of the thought pioneers of the last the five drivers by managers over the last three years,
decade, we identified five core drivers that seemed to we know from experience that we have achieved our
matter most to employees. When these five drivers goal of simple + comprehensive.
passed the scrutiny of a Ph.D. in organizational
psychology, we began field-testing them with several Why These Five
organizations. After three years of testing, we are now
confident that these Five Drivers produce the highest Here are the 5 drivers, framed as statements
levels of organizational energy and unlock employees' employees wish they could internally make to
ability to offer what they want to offer in their jobs - themselves as they think about their job:
their best stuff.
1. "I Fit."
2. "I'm Clear."
Why Five? 3. "I'm Supported."
4. "I'm Valued."
One might argue, "Aren't there more than 5 5. "I'm Inspired."
core drivers that energize people? I can think of at
least fourteen!" As true as this may be, a list of
fourteen drivers would be very unwieldy for a When employees are able to make statements
manager to wrap her head around and implement like these, engagement, discretionary effort and
with employees in the midst of her wildly complex results naturally follow. Here are some of the
and overloaded days. A shorthand list of the most statements leaders have offered us after focusing on
crucial drivers is all a manager needs to release the 5 drivers for six months:
energy in her employees.

"We've cut our credits and returns in half"

A shorthand list of the most crucial drivers is "For the first time in I don't know how long, I've
all a manager needs to release energy in her got employees singing out on the production line."
employees.
"There were several people who had their resumes
To this end one could argue, "Five is too many to polished up. None of them are looking any more."
remember. It should be a list of no more than three!"
While a list of three would certainly be more Let's look at the specific elements of the Five
manageable, it might not be comprehensive enough Drivers that produce engagement and results for
to sufficiently represent all the crucial emotional organizations:
drivers that energize employees.

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"I Fit" Once you hire Anne, the very next thing you do
My role is a good match for my talents. is give her clarity - ensuring that she clearly
My role is a good match for my interests. understands your expectations and her contribution to
I fit in well with my team - I feel I belong here. the big picture. Having clarity enables Anne to focus
I feel understood by my team - I experience no unnecessary and focus releases energy inside her in significant
friction or confusion. ways.
I feel safe in my current role emotionally and physically.
Once she is crystal clear on her role, you say,
"Now I want to make sure you have all the support you
"I'm Clear"
need to succeed here. Here are the tools, processes,
I'm clear on the expectations my manager has of me.
systems and training you will need. Also, I will be here
I receive the information that's important to me when I need
to make sure you have the backing, encouragement
it.
and development opportunities to feel that you are
I'm clear on the big picture of how things work here and
completely supported. As all these things actually
how I contribute to it.
materialize, Anne's initial hopes about the job are
I'm clear on how my manager feels about my progress.
validated and even more energy is released within her.
I'm clear on leadership's direction, strategy and objectives
and how they translate into my day-to-day activities.
In the days that follow, you watch for every
possible opportunity to make Anne feel completely
"I'm Supported" valued - demonstrating interest in her as a person,
I feel equipped with all the resources I need to succeed - listening carefully to her and giving recognition in
time, training, tools & systems. ways that feel appropriate for her. Each time one of
My compensation and benefits package feels right to me. these things happens, her energy spikes.
My manager "has my back", supports me and goes to bat for
me when I need it. As Anne settles into her role, you ensure that
I have the freedom and authority to do what I'm responsible she is inspired in an ongoing way: you model personal
to do. excellence by walking the talk and holding her
I'm getting the growth opportunities and challenges that are accountable to achieve the great results she is capable
important to me. of achieving. This sustains her personal energy level,
allowing her to remain completely engaged and
"I'm Valued" enabling her to offer all of her discretionary effort.
I feel my leaders value me as a person - not as a tool or an
asset.
I feel recognized and appreciated for my contribution. The 5 Drivers Move Employees into
I feel I am being treated fairly. Desired States of Being
I feel respected by my leaders.
My leaders listen to me in a way that makes me feel Each of the five drivers represents a much
completely understood. deeper desired state of being that is crucial to the
release of energy in employees. A state of being is
"I'm Inspired" more than just a feeling - it is a pervasive emotional
I feel a sense of pride and connection with the purpose of condition that affects a person's entire being. For
my organization. example, "My manager recognized my contribution" is a
Underperformers are not ignored here - employees are held feeling - "I am significant here" is a state of being. "I've
completely accountable. been given the authority to do my job" is a feeling - "I
I feel I am achieving great results. experience freedom here" is a state of being.
My colleagues and leaders walk the talk.
The passion of my colleagues inspires me to drive for more
There are five main states that people love and need to be in:
aggressive goals.

A State of Purpose
A Hierarchy of Work Needs A State of Freedom
A State of Significance
Imagine yourself the owner of a small business.
You are about to hire your first employee. What is the A State of Belonging
first order of the day? A perfect fit. You are thrilled to A State of Security
find Anne - someone who promises to have both the
talents and the wiring that match the role. As Anne If denied these states of being, employees become
begins to hear about her role, she is juiced by the depleted of their energy and find it increasingly
prospect of doing something she is good at doing dif f ic ul t to o f fe r t hei r en gage m ent and dis cretiona ry
and that she loves to do. effort.

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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

The 5 Drivers and the States of Being they Move by opportunities for development, and engaged by
how they feel on the job. What's interesting is that
People Into
each of Towers Perrin's top ten drivers of employee
engagement is instrumental in producing feelings
Drivers States of Being inside employees. Beside each of the Towers Perrin
I Fit Belonging top ten, we've bracketed the feeling that is produced
I'm Clear Security inside employees.
I'm Supported Freedom
I'm Valued Significance Senior management has sincere interest
I'm Inspired Purpose in("I'm Valued")
Company provides challenging work. ("I'm
inspired")
Why 5 Emotional Drivers? Employees have appropriate decision-making
authority. ("I'm Supported")
Significant emergent research has revealed Company cares a great deal about customer
some critical discoveries. We've learned what creates satisfaction. ("I'm Inspired")
the most highly engaged organization from Towers Employees have excellent career
Perrin, BlessingWhite, Hewitt and Melcrum. We've opportunities.("I fit," "I'm Valued" "I'm
learned what creates the most highly productive supported")
workforce from the Gallup Organization. We've Company has a reputation as a good
learned what creates the most highly effective leaders employer. ("I'm Inspired")
from Daniel Goleman and other Emotional Intelligence Employees work well in teams. ("I Fit" and
researchers. We've learned what creates the most "I'm inspired")
highly change-adaptive employees from John Kotter. Employees have resources needed to
And finally, we've learned what creates the most perform jobs in a high-quality way. ("I'm
highly performing employees from the Corporate Supported")
Leadership Council. Employees have appropriate decision-making
input. ("I'm Valued")
Connecting the Dots Senior management communicates clear
vision for long-term success. ("I'm Clear"
Highly Engaged and "I'm Inspired")
– Towers
wers Perrin and BlessingWhit
BlessingWhite

Feelings Create Highly Productive Employees


Highly
Highly Effective
H
Change-Adaptive
ge-Adaptive – EmotionalIntelligen
EmotionalIntelligence After surveying over two million employees,
– John Kotter
tter
the Gallup Organization has discovered the twelve
elements required for an organization to be highly
productive in terms of revenue, profitability, customer
loyalty, and employee retention. Interestingly enough,
each of the elements produces a specific feeling
inside employees. Beside each of the Gallup Q12,
we've bracketed the feeling that is produced inside
employees.

Highly Productive Highly Perfo


Performing I know what is expected of me at work.
- Gallup
allup – CorporateLeaders
CorporateLeadershipCouncil
("I'm Clear")
I have the materials and equipment I need
The results of each of these studies are to do my work right. ("I'm Supported")
fascinating, but if you view them as a whole and At work, I have the opportunity to do what
begin to connect the dots, an amazing realization I do best every day. ("I Fit")
coalesces: What matters to employees more than In the last seven days, I have received
anything else at work is feelings. Consider the recognition or praise for doing good work.
following five examples: ("I'm Valued")
My supervisor or someone at work seems
Feelings Create Highly Engaged Employees to care about me as a person. ("I'm
Valued")
After surveying more than 40,000 employees There is someone at work who encourages
in the U.S. and Canada in medium to large my development. ("I'm Supported")
organizations, Towers Perrin discovered what attracts, At work, my opinions seem to count. ("I'm
retains, and engages employees. Generally speaking, Valued")
employees are attracted by pay and benefits, retained
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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

The mission/purpose of my company In addition, it is emotional intelligence (EQ), thethe


makes me feel that my job is important. ability to identify and manage your own feelings and
("I'm Inspired") the feelings of those you work with that has the
My associates (fellow employees) are greatest impact on making leaders highly effective
committed to doing quality work. ("I'm with their employees.
Inspired")
I have a best friend at work. ("I Fit")
In the last six months, someone at work Feelings Create Highly Performing Employees
has talked to me about my progress. In its Best Practices Research 2002, the
("I'm clear" and "I'm Supported") Corporate Leadership Council studied 19,000
This past year, I have had opportunities employees over seven industries in 29 countries. Their
at work to learn and grow. ("I'm mission was to uncover the drivers that produced the
Valued," "I'm Supported," ""I'm highest levels of performance in organizations. Once
Inspired") again, each of the drivers is responsible for creating
feelings inside employees. Beside each of the CLC
Gallup's study conclusively shows that how drivers, we've bracketed the feeling that is produced
employees feel affects the bottom line. Managers who inside employees.
create an environment where these twelve elements
(and by extension, the five feelings) are present are Working on the things you do best can
50% more likely to deliver on customer loyalty and increase performance by up to 28%. (I fit)
44% more likely to produce above average
profitability. Employee understanding of their performance
[First Break All the Rules: Buckingham and Coffman] standards can increase performance by up to
36%. (I'm clear)

Feelings Create Highly Change-Adaptive A culture with good internal communication


Employees can increase performance by up to 34%. (I'm
clear)
John Kotter of Harvard University recognizes
Engagement in on-the-job development
the critical role of feelings in enabling employees to
opportunities can increase performance by
embrace change. Kotter has discovered that trying to
up to 28%. (I'm supported)
get people to embrace change by appealing to their
thinking is unproductive. The common approach used
An environment of risk-taking can increase
to be, "Give them enough analysis and they'll think
performance by up to 38%. (I'm supported
differently. If they think differently they will engage
and I'm inspired)
in change." Kotter's research has shown, however, that
the most effective approach is not analysis, think,
Emphasizing an employee's performance
change but see, feel, change. When people see
strengths can increase performance by up to
something powerfully modeled, it evokes within
36%. (I'm valued)
them a feeling that enables them to readily
embrace change. In short, help people feel right,
Belief that a manager is knowledgeable about
and they can change.
an employee's performance can increase
performance by up to 30%. (I'm valued)

Kotter's research has shown, however, that the most


effective approach is not analysis, think, change but We Feel First and Think Next
see, feel, change.
But why are feelings so important for
engaging people? Why not thoughts, facts, figures, or
physical commodities? Brain researchers have
Highly Effective Leaders Create Feelings discovered that all data entering the prefrontal cortex
Emotional intelligence experts Goleman, (the logical, decision-making center of the brain) first
Boyatzis, and McKee put it this way in their book gets filtered through the amygdala (the emotional
Primal Leadership: "The fundamental task of leaders, center of the brain). In short, we humans feel first,
we argue, is to prime good feelings in those they then we think. That means people's first response to
lead. At its root then, then, the primal job of you is an emotional one. As they interact with you,
leadership is emotional. Great leadership works they are internally assessing, "Do I feel put down?
through the emotions." Respected? Listened to? Patronized?"

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Furthermore, we have learned that when How your managers answer that question determines
people think back on their interactions with you, they the future of your company. Unfortunately, most
first remember how you made them feel and only managers get the answer wrong, believing their
after that do they remember the thoughts and primary role is to execute on technical tasks versus
commodities that may have passed between you. releasing energy in their employees.

"Soft" Feelings Drive Hard Results There is one simple but brilliant activity that great
People's emotional needs drive their managers do, that enables them to know exactly
decisions. In fact, their behaviors can best be what is required to energize an employee: they
understood as an attempt to get their emotional ask. They actually sit with their employees and ask,
needs met. If this is true, then the most important "You and I both want the same thing. We both want
thing you can do as a leader is to create an you to feel completely energized at work. Can I ask
environment where each of your employee's core you what you need to feel completely energized?"
emotional needs is being met.
Most managers believe they could never have this
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman make a conversation with their employees. Wouldn't it create
strong suggestion in their book First Break All the a set of expectations that couldn't be fulfilled?
Rules: "It would be [most] efficient to identify the few Wouldn't you be setting the employee up for
emotions you want your employees to feel and then disappointment and yourself for failure?
to hold your managers accountable for creating these
em ot i on s . " T h es e e mo ti o n s be co m e t h e o ut co m es a Juice enables leaders and managers to become skillful
manager is primarily responsible for. at simple, systematic engagement conversations that
uncover the drivers that energize and engage each of
Why is the creation of emotional engagement their employees on the job.
the most important thing a manager can do? Because
"emotional engagement is four times more valuable
than rational engagement in driving employee effort"
says the Corporate Leadership Council in their 2004 There is one simple but brilliant activity that great
Employment Engagement Survey. Following is a managers do, that enables them to know exactly
comparison of emotional and rational engagement.
what is required to energize an employee: they ask.
Rational Engagement

· Engaging the minds of your employees Case Study


I understand the organization's strategy Creating a Highly Engaged, High-Performing
·
and how I contribute to it Culture
· The skill to do more

· Big picture understanding, clarity of Background


expectations, connection to financial,
developmental or professional rewards Good working relationships began to
deteriorate when fast growth overtook a small
Emotional Engagement distribution company with 115 employees. Instead of
people supporting each other, relationships between
· Engaging the hearts of your employees and within departments weakened and the workplace
was consumed by toxic communication. Although the
· The excellence of my colleagues inspires company's president, Rob, was pleased with the
me to strive for more aggressive goals
organization's fast growth, he was concerned with the
· The will to do more human cost. He realized the growth had happened on
· Feelings of purpose, pride, meaning,
the backs of his people, who he felt were close to a
inspiration and loyalty breaking point due to sustained intensity and
overtime hours. He was also aware that a significant
number of employees and managers were looking for
Simple, Systematic Engagement Conversations work elsewhere.

Managers in your organization face a choice


point many times a day: "I've got sixty minutes of
unscheduled time. Do I do something that will make The Goal
me 10% more productive, or do I take 10 minutes "I need two things", Rob stated. "Number 1 -
with each of my six employees and do something that Get our culture back to where it was before. Number
will make each of them 10% more productive? You do 2 - Give us the management training that will enable
the math.
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to manage like high-performing professionals." Rob The Results


was keenly aware that his management team was
technically strong, although they lacked some soft Six months after the intervention began,
management skills and they required significant leaders and employees directly reported the following
improvement in building better relationships. results from the Juice process:

Retention of Talent
The Solution "People who were looking for other jobs have
stopped looking."
Assess
Reduction in Inventory Control Credits
Juice conducted an initial assessment to "Credits have been cut in half. Pickers and
identify the "reality" of the situation. Instead of receivers are working together; the warehouse is
looking at the "problem" from only Rob's eyes, Juice focusing on understanding and meeting each
interviewed key stakeholders to understand the others' needs --shippers for receivers and receivers
situation from several different perspectives. The
for shippers; as a result there has been a huge
assessment quickly uncovered critical problem areas
including indirect communication, low respect and
reduction in inventory control credits. Usually 50-
trust for leaders, unfairness, lack of accountability and 100 credits a day. Now we're down to as low as
a lack of recognition and appreciation. 10. This makes a big difference for pickers,
customers, inventory control and re-stockers."
Leaders then engaged in a 360 assessment to
identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. Leaders Decreased Shipping Time
rated themselves, and they were also rated by their "Streamlining is helping; we peeled off a day of
manager, two of their peers and at least three shipping time."
employees. There was a gap between the leader's
perception of themselves, and employees' perceptions Faster Response Times
of them.
Juice Inc. also designed and conducted an Response times are faster; less reminding is
employee climate and satisfaction survey which needed; there are fewer 'black holes'.
brought to the surface, exactly what employees loved "All the departments are ready to help."
about their work environment, what they hated about
it, and what they identified as "non-issues". Improved Cross-Department Cooperation and
Communication

Train "We're getting better cooperation in getting


projects done because communication lines are
Juice Inc. conducted experiential, pragmatic open; we can see the big picture."
management training sessions. Managers and "Supervisors have done a good job in the
supervisors received training on the Five Drivers of transition shift from 'me' focus to what needs to
Engagement. They began practicing with each other be done team action."
immediately - using their new skills to solve the "People are understanding and anticipating each
substantive issues of their business. This approach others' needs."
created a strong level of engagement in the training "People are asking, 'How does my job affect the
sessions and left participants with a lasting imprint. company and other departments?'"
The first session was a full day and set the tone for "…more respect in the warehouse for each
three, subsequent half-day sessions. other."
"Pickers clean the freezer and cooler for receivers
(every night); frees receivers up from cleaning up
Full Day Company-Wide Event our mess; they are free to restock shelves."
Juice Inc. facilitated a full-day, company-wide "…a decrease in the 'office/warehouse chasm'."
training intervention in order to imprint employees
with a common experience, language and learning. People are Happier
Juice guided employees through an experiential
exercise called Terra Nova, which taught participants "Bickering is mostly gone; people are happier."
how to maximize their results by understanding "Attitudes have changed…happier…willing to put
what's possible, how to understand the big picture forth more effort."
and each others' needs, and how to align individual, "...haven't heard "not my job" in quite a while."
team and organizational goals. "…attitude shift…giving benefit of the doubt."

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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Increased Innovation

"Smoke break has changed from complaining to


discussing new ideas."
"There's a shift in the lunch room as well; people
are talking about other ideas."
"People are now offering value, and being
innovative."

Improved Management Skills

"… is becoming more involved in the human side


willing to get involved in dialogue. Managers feel
more supported - there are fewer end runs
happening."
"… is showing a commitment to reducing the
human cost."
"Employees are feeling more appreciated; more
positive feedback, get pats on the back, while
before it was predominantly negative."
"There has been an expectation shift in
managers. They are going into meetings
understanding and ready to dialogue."
"Managers are less autocratic and more
understanding."
"The managers have had a mind shift in the area
of making sure employees "FIT". They are
focusing on finding people that fit and un-
finding those that don't."

Overall, there was a significant change in attitudes,


and as people became happier, they were willing to
pu t m or e ef fo rt i nto t he i r w o rk , a n d th i s t ra nslat ed
into improved performance and better results.

About Brady Wilson


Since 1993, Brady has
trained and coached
executives and managers in
Fortune 500 companies
across North America. His
deep expertise is
communication, specifically
enabling leaders to unlock
discretionary effort by
engaging the emotions of
their people through face-
to-face conversation.
In 1999, Brady launched Juice Inc. Juice's mission is to
enrich peoples' lives by co-creating environments
where it feels good to work and it's easier to get
significant results.

Juice Inc.
Guelph, ON Canada
519-822-5479
www.juiceinc.ca

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