Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Motivation Through Balance

Creating a highly engaged workforce is as much an art as it is a science. While there are a number of factors that are important to your workforce (see “10 Things Every Leader Should Know About Employee Expectations”, you can’t paint your entire workforce with a broad brush.

In other words, different employees want different things and assuming that something is “good,” and therefore valuable to your employees, is a sure fire way to miss the motivation bull’s-eye.

For example, Work/Life Balance is often cited by employees as one of the things that they care about in their job. In fact, this is one of the key areas that our current Baby Boomer Generation and our Generation Y members have in common. Both list Work/Life Balance as a key motivator. And both generations are looking to create a life outside of work for themselves.

But the expectations around Work/Life Balance can certainly be different between the generations. And beyond that, it can mean different things to different members of each generation. As a Baby Boomer myself, my perception of balance changed over the years. Early in my career I made a lot of sacrifices to get ahead in my career. I put in a lot of extra hours, working nights and weekends to try and impress my boss and the other executives as well. My career was at the top of my list. But when I did leave work, I left it entirely. Once I closed my office door, my time was 100% devoted to my wife and children. My Work/Life Balance was clearly delineated between my time in the office and my time outside the office. So again, painting with a broad brush about what our employees want can lead us into trouble.

When it comes to creating a highly engaged workforce it is important to understand the needs and expectations of your employees. Numerous studies on the subject of engaged employees cite the balance between work life and personal life as a key indicator of employee satisfaction. More than ever before, workers from all generations are trying to create a life for themselves outside of work. For Baby Boomers this outside time is being devoted to volunteer work at a service club or church, pursuing a long time passion like skiing or painting, or even just enjoying their new grand children. For Generation X and Y’ers, their time outside the office is invested in virtual worlds through the internet, social networking and gaming, as well as spending time with friends and music. So while more and more employees are citing the importance of a life outside of work as a key indicator of their satisfaction, the generations tend to have different views of how this time is best spent.

As an employer, should it really matter to you how your employees spend their off hours, creating the work/life balance so many of them seem to be asking for?

I believe it should. And next week we’ll talk about why.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC, we are dedicated to helping companies get the greatest return from their most valuable asset: their employees. We work with you to align 3 key organizational factors:

• Your Company Culture
• The Leadership Styles of your key managers
• The Expectations of your Employees

When these 3 factors are aligned, you create in energy in your company that improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, increases creativity, and positively impacts your bottom line. Contact ECI Learning Systems LLC today to get your free Workplace Evaluation.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

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