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VIEWPOINT: Employee Engagement

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It is easy to confuse employee motivation and employee engagement. Let us say it’s the difference between employing a good car salesman and a car enthusiast that happens to sell cars.

Your salesman may be motivated for a number of reasons, including the need for the job, a good salary, the promise of commission, a competitive nature; but engagement is the energy, effort, and initiative he puts into the sale.

According to the Harvard Business Review, employee engagement is influenced by the need to comprehend (understand and learn).

Simply put, we want to make sense of the world and are frustrated when we can’t. In a work environment, the drive to comprehend is responsible for the need to make a meaningful contribution to your company or field, and where you can’t, you will feel unfulfilled and lose interest in, and passion for, the job.

So how do you turn your car salesman into a car enthusiast? You need to make the position meaningful, interesting, and challenging to ensure true engagement. No matter how tough the job or how hard the hours, if you provide this while encouraging their passion and creativity, your employees will pour their energy into their work.

You should encourage the learning of new skills by creating opportunities for them to not only move upwards, but laterally as well should they have the desire and the aptitude.

Understanding how your business works will only further feed their drive to comprehend. In your car business, let them work in the workshop, the factory, or on the design team.

Invest in training and development to ensure that your top team members remain passionate about the ins and outs of their jobs, about your product and about your company as a whole. Let your employee learn how the engine works, how the car is put together and why it was designed the way it was.

Engagement is the element of motivation you most want your employees to bring to the job; it is something that your customers will always recognise and respond to. If you create a deeper understanding of what your employees are selling or doing, they will develop an informed passion for it; engaging and bringing an unmistakable energy and belief into every sale.

Author: Kevin Phillips CA(SA) is Managing Director of idu Software

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