The facts about performance and engagement

We all know by now, annual performance reviews and engagement surveys don’t work. They don’t improve our results, or for that matter the satisfaction of our employees. So what does?

Let’s quit mucking around and look at the science. There’s plenty of evidence that shows what does work, but let’s be honest, many leaders and business owners don’t want to hear it.

The world is changing and that can be scary. The people we have working with us are very different from those we might have started our working life or business with. (See my earlier post … Talking ’bout our next generation).

Also, before we get into the topic, let’s acknowledge there are many solution providers our there who are very keen to offer you great (and expensive) talent and engagement solutions. The human capital market is valued at upwards of USD15B  globally with rapid double digit growth.  At the end of the day most performance tools and engagement surveys are a like your fuel gauge or medical lab report. They tell you the problem but don’t actually fix it for you. As leaders bringing about change, something gets lost in translation when it comes to making it happen.

Yet the evidence for better performance and engagement is within our grasp and costs nothing except a short read, a call to action and conscious choices to do things a little differently everyday. The solution is far simpler than you may think, but like all things worthwhile it takes some effort. Think back to when you might have lost weight, got fit, gave up smoking. All requires a little focus, commitment, support from those near and dear, and the right tools that will enable your success.

So let’s start with the Top 3 facts. There are lots of others out there if we go look for them.

  1. Individuals who set their own goals with their leaders are 17x more likely to be engaged
  2. Regular conversations about performance boost outcomes – a minimum of 4 conversations increases success by 4x
  3. Matching development to personal career goals increases engagement by 35%

What common theme underlies all these important data points?  Answer – Intrinsic motivation.

Daniel Pink writes about it in DRIVE. It’s about our internal drive towards our goals, striving and thriving through applying and directing our energy. It spells sustainable success because it’s fuelled from within. Ed Deci and Rich Ryan developed the concept of self determination in the 90’s. It’s the most cited model in social psychology and it works!

So, what do you need to do to ensure your people are self determining or intrinsically motivated? Hand control for goal setting, contribution, progress updates and development to the people who are most interested in career progression. The individuals themselves.  Your workplace can be the cradle that nurtures performance, engagement and growth, not the graveyard of unmet expectations and lost opportunities.

Lastly, here’s some further evidence. Higher levels of employee engagement mean 22% profitability, 21% high productivity and 65% lower turnover. What’s not to love?

Your take out is simple – start getting your people to own and connect with their role and purpose at work, let them build their achievement goals and then be accountable for them, to empower them own their individual development plans, give them regular opportunities to share their progress and successes. Then enjoy the knowledge that not only are your teams performing better and staying longer, but you’ve become a better leader in the process.

To find out more about all the tools you need to effortlessly enable your people to own their own success, visit PlanDo.

Anne Moore is the Founder & CEO of PlanDo, a game changing DIY career management platform that equips you to achieve, grow and contribute everyday.


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