Who Wants to Work for Fear and Money?

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Have I got a job for you! You will do what the boss tells you to, check with her before you do something on your own, and meet the numbers she tells you to meet or your fired. If you do all that, you will get to keep your job and get paid every two weeks.

Are you in?

Using the fear of losing your job and the reward of getting paid is how most businesses have been managing (controlling?) their employees for the last hundred years or so.

It works…kinda.

Depending on how badly you need the job, you put up with it. But for how long?

And what kind of work and life does that lead to?

A friend of mine had a “great” job at a big company. He was a team leader. He was earning good money. Even in this still struggling economy his job was “safe.”

And he couldn’t wait to leave.

The culture he was working in was destroying him. He felt like the company didn’t really care about him, his coworkers, his family, or even the idea of a life outside the office. It’s hard to put in your best effort for a company like that.

He was offered a job with the type of culture he was looking for and he took it. When he put in his two-week notice the company was upset. They didn’t want to lose him. They offered him a promotion and more money. They thought the old model of motivation still worked, they just had to push harder.

Wrong.

My friend took the other job. He’s super excited about the culture and is already happier, more engaged with his company, and ready to do his best work.

Gallup has done a lot of research on “employee engagement.” An engaged employee is someone who is emotionally and enthusiastically involved in the purpose of the company. He enjoys his work and looks for ways to create, innovate, and do more than is asked of him. It’s the kind of employee every business wants.

Bad news. Gallup’s numbers from 2015 show that only 35% of managers are engaged and only 30% of all employees are.

This old method of motivating employees leads to a bunch of disengaged, unhappy, ready to jump ship at a moments notice people.

Who wants to work in that type of environment? Nobody. It’s one of the reasons there is so much turnover in the workplace.

It also costs a company’s bottom line. Gallup estimates that employee disengagement costs American companies about $300 billion every year.

Ouch.

There is a better way.

The best organizations engage us by asking us to share in their purpose and share in the pleasure of:

  • Creating individual and team goals
  • Contributing something signifcant
  • Innovating
  • Making a difference
  • Working with people who support and encourage us
  • Working towards and achieving goals
  • Celebrating achievements and being rewarded for them
  • Helping us become an expert at what we do

Add in an understanding that your entire life is not the job and now you’ve got someone working with their heart and soul. Now you’ve got someone who will stick with you.

Questions for comments: How does your company engage its people? How could you improve that?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that I view as rude, snarky, mean or off-topic. Hey, this is to support each other and have fun! Let's Go!

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2 thoughts on “Who Wants to Work for Fear and Money?

  1. Great article. Reminds of Ramsey’s podcast episode with Tom Rath, of Gallup’s Strengths Finder 2.0 in which he addresses employee engagement and the idea that employees who are passively committed are actually passively disengaged, giving ways for leadership to raise the engagement level to actively engage team members.

    I work on the line at Ford in Claycomo building trucks. Not really an environment good for honing leadership skills, but where I can implement these things, I certainly do my best.

    • I bet you’re doing more than you think in encouraging and helping your colleagues at Claycomo. Sounds like you’re a leader to me. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. All the best.