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"Don't you forget about me" Employee

As we know, maximizing profits is the primary goal of most companies. To do that, they try to deliver more value while spending fewer resources. Every time I ask peers how they would do that in a business, their answers are “technology”. And it’s true. Technology has been playing a significant role in this path to efficiency. Computers, artificial intelligence, and many other technologies are doing the “algorithmic” work used to be done by humans, and most of the time, consequently increasing profitability. Technology has become essential; however, I don’t believe it is the only way to increase efficiency. We must never forget that people play a crucial role in creating a business, and they should play a key role in improving efficiency.




Employee engagement has a direct impact on profits


It is not enough to have multiple tools, software, or hardware. Companies that want to thrive must have their people engaged and motivated. You must be thinking about what this has to do with profitability, right? Research shows that businesses with the highest levels of employee engagement are 22% more profitable than those with low levels of engagement[1]. So, before investing in top-notch software, why not invest in people?


Engagement is low, there is room for improvement


Many organizations would say that they already do. “Employee experience” or “workplace experience” is one of the newest departments/teams in many organizations. They focus on providing a better journey for the employee in their time in the firm. Although this is a significant step, employee engagement is still low. Even after all the free food, generous bonuses, and swags, you ask? The answer is still yes. According to a poll by Gallup, 53% of US workers are not engaged[2] at work. Plus, 60% of US turnovers are people quitting[3].


To push is no to motivate


When you think about it, we still use carrots and sticks to motivate employees. To receive a bonus, the employee needs to complete a specific task. Or if the employee doesn’t perform the task, they will get fired. It is all based on rewards and punishments. It seems that although this can induce movement, it doesn’t provoke employee motivation. Try to remember a time you felt motivated at work. Was it when you received your bonus or when you were afraid to be fired? I don’t think so.


This system has been used to “motivate” employees for so long, and maybe it was indeed useful for “algorithmic” work back then. But remember technology? These jobs have been replaced by new tech tools or have been outsourced. Some academics believe that the way companies try to motivate people with carrots and sticks does not motivate and actually diminishes their willingness to do a task. This can also reduce employees’ creativity or empathy towards customers, many values that companies currently want to promote. All of this to say: it is about fostering intrinsic motivation, not movement. Academia has been telling us that for years. When will we start actively listening?

[1] Gallup https://emplify.com/blog/employee-engagement-stats-2020/

[2] https://techjury.net/blog/employee-engagement-statistics/#gref

[3] https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2019/article/job-openings-hires-and-quits-reach-historic-highs-in-2018.htm

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