Today I take a slight detour from my usual subjects of marketing analytics and multichannel marketing. Three converging events have me questioning employee satisfaction. While I was on vacation, I read Daniel Pink’s new book, Drive (). Then, I stumbled across a blog from Harvard Business School, Why Are Fewer and Fewer U.S. Employees Satisfied with Their Jobs? (http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6404.html. And, coincidentally, we did our biannual employee engagement and satisfaction survey at SIGMA Marketing Group. Only 45% of workers in the U.S. are satisfied with their jobs, according to the Conference Board, so what did I gain from this immersion in employee motivation that can help me as a manager improve employee engagement?
There are 5 themes that resonate from my learnings:
- Intrinsic motivation is real. Pink does a great job of explaining how Motivation 1.0 (carrots and sticks) no longer works. Once employees have their basic needs met (similar to Maslow) then intrinsic motivation becomes a better motivator. The art of doing one’s job well is far more likely to create job satisfaction than external rewards.
- Employees crave autonomy. When given a chance to work on a meaningful project of their choosing, employees rise to the challenge. The Harvard article describes how designing jobs to give employees greater control over their work leads to less stress and better health.
- Mastering your work keeps you fresh. This is Daniel Pink’s second theme, but it has really been driven home for me with my immersion in social media marketing. Attempting to master new marketing skills is keeping me fresher and more enthused about my work than I’ve been in years.
- Workers can take steps to improve their own satisfaction. Employee engagement is not solely the responsibility of management. It has to come from the bottom-up as well. Workers need to find those things that motivate them and develop plans for doing more of them in their current roles.
- Financial results and layoffs are still key drivers of employee engagement. 2009 was a tough year for many of us in marketing and analytics. It’s difficult for employees to be engaged when they’re wondering about their jobs. Also, layoffs typically bring more demands as former workers’ loads are heaped upon existing assignments.
It’s been an eye-opening month for me. These 5 themes and what I’ve learned from my research are definitely changing my thinking and outlook on employee satisfaction.
About the Author:
Kenyon Blunt is the CEO at SIGMA Marketing Group. Connect with Kenyon on or follow him on .