Is it freebies or value which builds engagement?

Freebies are very expensive, time consuming and hard to stop once started. Even worse, freebies don’t work. Freebies can take the form of food trucks, rich benefits, emotional events or activities. The participation level and the impact taper off quickly. Your employees will soon be looking for a new fix with new freebie. I have never seen any of those type of activities work in the long term. Lastly, I am seeing more employees quickly see them as manipulative and irrelevant.

Employee engagement has not increased over the last 20 years.

Employee engagement has been is floating in the 30% level for the last 20 years per Gallup. I draw a distinction between engaged and actively engaged. My desired results are employees who are actively engaged at work and selling the company as a great place to work. I want them talking to their friends and neighbors about how happy they are. You are not going to do that with food trucks. You are going to do that with integrity, sincerity and increasing value. The value must be for both the employees and the company.

So what are some simple standards to adhere to?

  1. Are all employees held to the same standard of conduct ranging from the executives to the part time janitor?
  2. Are the low value employees either developed or exited from the organization?
  3. Are the standards of hiring being held to a high value candidate?
  4. Are the high value employees being rewarded for their productivity?

The answers to the above questions is generally “no”. Standards of conduct are all over the board. I have found the worst offenders are one or two of the executives. Low value employees are held on to for too long. Hiring is based more on getting them in the door. The exceptional employees are not paid exceptionally.

The elephant(s) in the room

The questions and answers to the above quickly lead you to what you need to do. Immediately the elephant(s) in the room will make their presence known again. These are the real reasons why things are the way they are. Now you are left with the pivotal question. Can or will you do what you need to do? For me, this is when the real work begins. It is also the difference between companies who have high engagement and the ones who don’t.