|Some of my best ideas for articles come in the context
of talking business with another person in a relaxed environment. That is exactly what happened to spur this
article. I was sharing a beer with a
friend at Entrepreneurial Thursdays where we were talking about people in the
Some employees are "actively working for the company". Some are "actively working against the
company". And in the average company,
over half of the staff "just show up". We
were discussing what can be done to foster the first group and how to move the
latter two types of employees into the coveted "actively working for the
It was a spirited discussion. My friend felt that the "working against"
people had passion and if re-inspired, they could be moved to "working
for". I stated that deep in the heart of
every human being there is a desire for significance and that they are looking
for a reason to get involved. We agreed
that there were people in both groups that would require an awful lot of work
to make any impact. Some in the "working
against" group are so damaged that they are poison to the organization and must
be cut loose. Some in the "show up"
group are so spoiled by our entitlement society that they are not willing to
put forth any unnecessary effort. But we
did agree that maximizing the "actively working for" group is the pathway to a
He asked me if I had heard of the Four E's that he had read
about to motivate employees. He gave me
the first one and then asked me what I thought the others were. My next E wasn't in the list but we decided
that it should have been. In the end, we
came up with our own list of 5 E's that he thought was better than those in the
article. As I was writing this, I added
two more. Here is what we came up with:
Engage - by definition, the folks in the "just show up"
group aren't engaged. You have to get each
employee feeling like they are part of the team and that success only happens
when everyone contributes. You have to
overcome the dreaded "cog in the wheel" mentality.
Educate - each staff person has to have the requisite skills
for that job and training for the processes to follow in performing their
job. While you are at it cross train
them and develop them for their next promotion.
Beyond that someone has to show them what a good job looks like. You also have to teach them how they will be
judged on the outcome. (Remember my 2nd
cardinal rule of business: "What gets measured gets done.")
Empower - in addition to setting expectation levels for the
delivery, you have to give each person the resources to accomplish them. These are both the appropriate tools but also
access to other necessary people and materials with the authority to mobilize
Eliminate - get rid of all of the "trash" in the job. That is, reduce excess paper work. Kill the office politics. Streamline procedures. Remove any other impediments that make the
work harder than it has to be.
Energize - management must provide energy and demonstrate
enthusiasm. We have to model it if we
want to see it. You also must
demonstrate your willingness to put in the effort that you expect from your
Enlighten - management must provide the vision for the
future. That vision must capture the aspirations of the company and its
motivations. You also must show the
positive outcomes for the employee. You
should also get them involved in ways that they can contribute to achieve those
Enrich - share the wealth.
That is, create a profit based incentive plan that rewards those who
contribute to the success of the company.
By the way, any incentive plan that is not based on increased profit is
a gift. But we need to go beyond
money. Look for ways to enrich their
jobs. If you implement the first six
E's, you will have gone a long way toward fulfilling the step of job
What do you think?
Are there any other E's that you would add? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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